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JULY, 1906, TO APRIL, 1907. 











The Texas State Historical Association, 

Organized March 2, 1897. 

















NUMBER 1; JULY, 1906. 



Eugene C. Barker.. 76 






TORY OF THE GULF COAST Herbert E. Bolton . . 113 

THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT OF TEXAS Ernest William Winkler.. 140 


REBECCA JONES Adele B. Looscan.. 172 




THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT OF TEias Ernest W illiam Winkler . . 185 

A STUDY OF THE ROUTE OF CABEZA DE VAC A James Newton Baskett .. 246 


NUMBER 4; APRIL, 1907. 


SMOKE OF SHILOH J. B. Ulmer . . 285 


A STUDY OF THE ROUTE OF CABEZA DE VACA James Newton Baskett.. 308 

MARTIN MCHENRY KENNEY Charles W. Ramsdell . . 341 









The constitution of the Association provides that "Members 
who show, by published work, special aptitude for historical 
investigation, may become Fellows. Thirteen Fellows shall be 
elected by the Association when first organized, and the body 
thus created may thereafter elect additional Fellows on the 
nomination of the Executive- Council. The number of Fellows 
shall never exceed fifty." 

The present list of Fellows is as follows: 














The constitution provides also that "Such benefactors of the 
Association as shall pay into its treasury at any one time the sum 
of thirty dollars, or shall present to the Association an equivalent 
in books, MSS., or other acceptable matter, shall be classed as 
Life Members." 

The Life Members at present are: 


VOL. X. JULY, 1900. No. 1. 

The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views 
expressed by contributors to THE QUARTEBLY. 





To the average American citizen of a century ago Texas was 
practically unknown, while Louisiana meant little more than a 
vague geographical expression to designate a shadowy region ren- 
dered marvelous by three centuries of Latin-American exploration ' 
and occupancy. He knew only that within the unknown limits of the 
Southwest conquistador and coreur-de-bois, Franciscan and Jesuit 
had played uncertain parts in an ineffectual struggle to stem the 
westward course of the Anglo-Saxon. In this struggle Spaniard 
and Frenchman had fought each other for the sake of colonial 
empires that they barely grasped before they were obliged to com- 
bine against the Anglo-American invader, who threatened to dis- 
possess both of their uncertain tenure. Under these circum- 
stances, when Louisiana was ceded to the United States the ques- 
tion of metes and bounds for the new acquisition was a puzzling 
one upon which past events could throw but little light, and that 
greatly distorted. 

Louisiana, under French domination, had been an intrusive 
colony effectually separating two portions of the Spanish empire in 
North America, and because of its important strategic position it 

2 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

was destined to contribute materially to the ultimate overthrow of 
this empire. The fact that the final blow was delayed until a new 
nation could administer it was due not to any lack of strength in 
the situation of the colony, but to the peculiar social and political 
ties that under Le Grand Monarque and his immediate successor 
bound France to Spain. For this reason certain phases of Louis- 
iana's territorial history under the Bourbon kings of France and 
Spain are of importance,, even if resulting in no definite limits 
for the province, since they indicate in a general way what the 
ultimate determination of those limits must be. 

From their position at the mouth of the Mississippi the intrusive 
French faced a double competition in their attempt to control the 
surrounding Indians. Within less than a century the anvil of 
Spanish conservatism, ineffectual but dogged, and the hammer of 
English expansion crushed French control of the Mississippi, and 
that great river became the unavailing barrier between the Power 
of the Past and the Power of the Future. When the latter changed 
its national designation, but not its stock characteristics, European 
diplomacy offered the new nation an opportunity to make the vast 
interior of the continent a political as well as a geographical unit. 
Then the thin line of fortifications and settlements that imper- 
fectly marked the western limit of France's colonial empire again 
sprang into international importance. For this reason a compre- 
hensive view of the early history of the Louisiana-Texas frontier 
is necessary to a proper appreciation of the events following 1803. 

By the middle of the sixteenth century Cabeza de Vaca had per- 
formed his wonderful journey across the continent; while De Soto 
and Moscoso in the east and Coronado in the west, unconsciously 
carrying their explorations nearly to the same point, had pen- 
etrated far into the interior and formed the basis for future claims 
to the region away from the coast. 1 By the end of the century 
Spanish power was strongly established in New Mexico, but to the 
east it was still far south of the Rio Grande Valley. Spanish 
writers believed, however, even at this period, that by means of 
inter-tribal communication Spanish influence penetrated from New 

'Bandelier, The Journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca; Bourne, Nar- 
ratives of the Career of Hernando de Soto; both in the Trail Maker's 
Scries, 1904-1905. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 3 

Mexico, Florida, and Coahuila to the Mississippi region. 1 This 
necessarily slight influence, if it existed, may have been somewhat 
strengthened by the explorations of Espejo, Sosa, (Mate, and Mar- 
tin and Castillo, who before the middle of the seventeenth century 
crossed the Eio Grande and penetrated as far as the Pecos or pos- 
sibly to the Tejas Indians. 2 

This gradual extension of communication from the westward 
toward the east might have been met by a counter-current had 
the Spanish government acted favorably upon a report made in 
1630 by Friar Alonso Benavides, the custodian of the missions of 
New Mexico. In the course of his missionary journeys in the 
vicinity of Santa Fe, the worthy father heard of the Indians of 
Quivira and of the Aijaos, located some one hundred and fifty 
leagues to the eastward. He proposed 3 the conversion of these 
Indians and the opening of communication with them, and ulti- 
mately with New Mexico, from the Gulf coast in the vicinity of 
Espiritu Santo Bay. Although his proposal naively disregards 
certain important geographical factors revealed by later explora- 
tion, had it been acted upon it might have led to an effective oc- 
cupation of the Gulf coast at some point west of Florida. For 
nearly half a century, however, the report remained undisturbed 
in the Spanish archives, until the proposals of La Salle and of 
Penalosa suggested the danger of French encroachment from this 
same direction. 

Later Spanish writers were wont to exaggerate the Spanish in- 
fluence during the period before the French came into the Missis- 
sippi Valley. They even claimed that the province of Texas then 
extended from the San Antonio to the Mississippi, notwithstand- 
ing the fact that within this space there had been no Spanish set- 
tlement, and at most only an occasional visit by some explorer or 

l Historia XLI1I, Opusculo VI, p. 6, Archive General, City of Mexico. 

2 Garrison, Texas, 18, 19; Clark, in THE QUARTERLY, V 172. 

3 Benavides MS8-, in the N. Y. Public Library, Lenox Branch. A sum- 
mary appears in the royal cfidula of December 10, 1678, Historic XLJII, 
Opusulo VII. Friar Melchor Talamantes, who compiled the documents 
for the Spanish authorities during the border controversy with the 
United States, believed that the Aijaos were the later "Texas" Indiana, 
that the country of Quivira bordered on the Red, Arkansas, and Missouri, 
and that Espiritu Santo Bay was that later known as Matagorda. His 
testimony is too partisan to be trustworthy (see Historia XLIII, Opusculo 
VII). The best interpretation of modern scholarship is in favor of the 
identity of Espiritu Santo with Mobile Bay. 

4 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

enthusiastic missionary. The only evidences of Spanish proximity, 
to say nothing of possession, according to the testimony of later 
French and Spanish writers, was the presence among the Indians 
of certain articles of Spanish commerce, obtained through inter- 
tribal communication, and a knowledge of a few simple church 
rites, doubtless conveyed in the same way or by very infrequent 
visits from representative friars laboring among distant tribes. 
For all practical purposes the Mississippi Valley, in the days of 
Benavides, was still an open field for European colonization. The 
only result of another half century of exploration and missionary 
effort beyond the Pecos, seconded by an appeal over the head of an 
indifferent viceroy to the Council of the Indies, was a royal or- 
der, issued in 1685 to Friar Alonzo Posadas, to make an exhaustive 
report upon explorations east of the Rio Grande. 1 In this very 
year, however, the Spanish policy of documents was threatened 
by a French policy of deeds, for La Salle's abortive colony on the 
oast of Texas opened a new phase of the Louisiana question. 


Although LaSalle's landing upon the coast of Texas, in 1685, 
was wholly unintentional, he at the time was engaged in a project 
which was the result of a policy definitely pursued by the French 
government since the rediscovery of the Mississippi by Hennepin. 
An important motive in this policy was the desire to open up a 
way to Mexico for the purpose of carrying on an illicit trade in 
time of peace, or of seizing the rich silver mines of the outlying 
provinces in time of war. This desire was hinted at in the patent 
issued to La Salle in 1678, 2 was the burden of the proposals of the 
adventurer Penalosa in 1682 and 1684, 3 and was even an im- 
portant motive of the projects of LaSalle. 4 In pursuit of this 
motive LaSalle proposed to utilize the mouth of the Mississippi, 
discovered by him in 1682, as a base of operations against New 
Biscay; while Penalosa wished to direct an expedition against the 

Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I 387. 

"French, Historical Collections of Louisiana, New Series, II 2, 3; Cox, 
The Journeys of La Salle, II 24, in the Trail Maker's Series. 

8 Margry, Decouvertes et etablissements des Frangais, etc., HI 44-48; 

4 Margry, II 357 ; Cox, The Journeys of La Salle, I 171 et seq. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 5 

same province from the mouth of the Eio Grande 1 or of the Panuco. 
Additional important motives were the desire for a commercial 
colony at the mouth of the Mississippi and the conversion of the 
natives 2 , but the attraction of the Mexican mines long remained to 
fire the imaginations of French explorers. 3 

The attempts of Penalosa and the grant to LaSalle roused the 
Spanish Council of the Indies to make an inquiry concerning the 
possibility of an invasion from the Gulf of Mexico. 4 When the 
certainty .of LaSalle's attempt became apparent, the viceroy of 
New Spain authorized no less than six expeditions by land and sea, 
between 1686 and 1689, to find and break up his infant colony, 5 
but these discovered only the wreck of one of LaSalle's ships to 
reward their search. Finally in April, 1689, another land expedi- 
iion, under Alonso de Leon, known in Texas history as the first 
entrada, succeeded in reaching the site of LaSalle's feeble settle- 
ment some two months after the destruction of its surviving mem- 
bers by the Indians. 6 The expedition of the following year burned 
this fort and removed all other vestiges of the temporary sojourn 
of the French upon the Lavaca Eiver. 

That LaSalle's settlement upon the coast of Texas was wholly 
unintentional is shown by the fact that he continued long after his 
arrival to regard the Bay of St. Louis as one of the mouths of 
the Mississippi; and that when he learned his mistake he made 
three desperate but unavailing attempts to find "the fatal river." 7 
The strategic point both for commerce and for warfare, accord- 
ing to his various memoirs, was the mouth of the Mississippi, and 
Matagorda Bay (his Bay of St. Louis) was too far away to give 
him the desired control of this point. His various expeditions 
into the interior of Texas, extending as far as the country of the 

*That this proposal is largely devoid of geographical significance is 
shown by the fact that he confounded the Rio Grande with the Missis- 
sippi. Margry, Decouvertes, III 56-60. 

2 Margry, III 17-28. 

'It appears in the proposal of Tonty in 1694 (Margry, IV 45) to con- 
tinue the enterprise of La Salle, and in that of Louvigny in 1697 (Mar- 
gry, IV 9-18), who proposes a plan, almost identical with that of Pena- 
losa, to utilize the Panuco or the Madelaine (his name for the Bravo). 

'Historia XLIII, Opusculo VII, Par. I. 

*Cavo, Tres Siglos de Meanco, II 65-72. 

*Carta of Damian Manzanet (Massanet). Translated by Professor Lflia 
M. Casis, in THE QUARTERLY, II 281 et seq. 

T Cf. Joutel, in French, Hist. Coll. La., Pt. I (1846)- 85-193: Cox, Jour- 
neys of La Salle, II 57-132. 

6 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Cenis Indians, revealed to him many traces of communication be- 
tween the natives and the neighboring Spaniards of New Mexico, 
and also evidences of hostility on the part of the Indians toward 
these same Spaniards, due, as later writers explained, to the recent 
rising of the New Mexican Indians. 1 LaSalle, however, was un- 
able to take advantage of this hostility to further the ends of 
France; and his explorations were equally futile, since they de- 
pended for a base of operations upon a settlement that was unable 
even to maintain itself while its leader sought to transfer it to the 
Mississippi. Had the colony, despite the mistake in its location, 
succeeded in establishing itself upon the coast of Texas, it would 
still have been more difficult to maintain it there than at the mouth 
of the Mississippi, owing to its separation from Canada by an addi- 
tional hundred leagues of fairly dangerous seacoast. It must in- 
evitably have remained a thing apart, constantly menaced by 
savage and Spanish foes. In view of this fact and of its early ex- 
tinction it affords, therefore, only a slender basis for French and 
American claims to Texas. 

The entradas of 1689 and 1690 established Spanish missions in 
northeast Texas among the Indians of that name, while that of 
1691-92 penetrated, under Don Domingo Teran, to the Elver of the 
Cadodachos (Red River), of which it made a perfunctory exam- 
ination. 2 This last expedition, however, was a failure so far as its 
main purpose, the permanent establishment of the Spanish in 
Texas, was concerned; and in 1693 the missions among the Texas 
Indians were abandoned, so that the entire province reverted 
to the undisturbed possession of its savage inhabitants. 

For a time the exigencies of European war prevented Louis 
XIV from continuing the exploration and settlement of the Missis- 
sippi Valley. When, in 1697, the return of peace permitted him 
to turn his attention again to these projects, there was an addi- 
tional motive for haste in the prospect that the English would soon 
become the bitter rivals of the French for the possession of the 

l Historia XLIII, Opusculo VI, Pars. 15, 16. 

*Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII 95. This is volume XXVII, Sec- 
ci6n de Historia, Archive General, Mexico. Volumes XXVII and XXVIII 
of this series relate almost wholly to Texas. The writer has examined 
copies of these volumes in the Archive General of the City of Mexico; in 
the library of Mr. E. E. Ayers, of Chicago; and in the Lenox Library. 
His references are to the last mentioned copy. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 7 

Mississippi Valley. 1 The prospect of this vigorous opposition in 
the east determined that the location of the new French settlement 
should be to the eastward of the Mississippi. The Sieur d'Iberville, 
the leader of the new expedition, proposed Pensacola Bay as the 
most likely place for his colony, although he decided also to explore 
the Bay of St. Louis to learn its feasibility for a settlement. 2 
When, however, early in 1699 he reached the vicinity of Pensacola, 
he found that the Spaniards had preceded him some four months 
and had already erected a small fort there. 3 As Iberville was under 
strict orders not to molest the Spaniards, he continued his explora- 
tions farther to the westward, sent his brother Bienville to explore 
the Mississippi as far as the Natchez, and left a garrison of eighty 
men in a fort at Old Biloxi, not far from Mobile Bay. 

On his return to France Iberville submitted to the Minister of 
the Marine a plan of exploration in which he proposed to send his 
brother Bienville up the Mississippi and the Eed rivers as far as 
the country of the Cadodachos. From these villages expeditions 
should explore each of the forks of the Red River, to determine 
how far each was navigable. Upon their return the expedition 
should proceed overland to the country of the Cenis (Texas) and 
thence to the habitation erected by LaSalle. Meanwhile, he him- 
self should explore the coast as far as the Panuco and then return 
to the above rendezvous on St. Louis Bay. If necessary, Iberville 
would then pass to the country of the Cadodachos and return by 
river to Biloxi. 4 

Had the leader been able to carry out this far-reaching plan of 
exploration, it is probable that the French would have made good 
their claim westward as far as St. Louis Bay, or even to the Rio 
Grande. But when in the spring of 1700 Bienville and Saint 
Denis ascended the Red to the Natchitoches, they found it im- 
possible to penetrate higher up by water. The Indians, too, were 
unwilling to attempt the journey overland. Consequently they 
were forced to descend by the same route without farther explora- 
tion. 5 

^argry, IV 19-43; 58-59; Espinosa, Chronica Apostdlica y Serdphica, 
I 413 

2 IUd., IV 54, 55. 
*IMd., IV 429. 
4 IUd., IV 328-329. 
., IV 409, 432ff. 

;g Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Aside from an uncertain trading expedition by Saint Denis in 
1705, 1 which may have extended as far west as the Rio Grande, 
.the French for a time made no attempt to operate beyond the 
Valley of the Red River. But from this stream they evidently 
icamed on an extensive trade with the Cenis and the Natchitoches 
Indians. By the year 1700, then, the French sphere of influence, 
if we may use the term, extended up the Red River as far as 
modern Natchitoches, while that of the Spaniards barely reached 
the Rio Grande at the Presidio of San Juan Bautista. 

The grant by Louis XIV to Antoine Crozat, in 1712, marks a 
Tilde attempt to give Louisiana some sort of delimitation. By its 
terms the colony extended from the country of the Illinois (with 
trading privileges on the Missouri) to the Gulf, and from the 
-Carolinas to New Mexico. 2 While this document should be given 
no more weight than is accorded to the "sea to sea" charters of 
the early English colonies, and while it was founded upon no more 
accurate geographical knowledge than they, yet as the first at- 
tempt to define Louisiana it has had considerable importance in 
.succeeding diplomatic history. Apparently it was as definite as 
the French government wished to make it. 3 The grant was also 
of especial importance in that it ushered in a new era for the 
French colony an era in which commercialism prevailed to the 
^detriment of political and territorial interest. 

In pursuance of this policy the new governor of Louisiana, M. 
<Le la Mothe de Cadillac, in 1713, sent a vessel to Vera Cruz to 
open up a commerce, with that port, but in this he was unsuccess- 
ful. 4 The next year, however, Cadillac made a second attempt that 
was destined to have important effects upon the Frinch territorial 
claims to the west. In this he engaged M. Louis de Saint Denis, 
& French captain of Canadian extraction who had long been em- 

l Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII 159-161. Another account relates 
that Saint Denis visited the Spanish presidio on the Rio Grande in 1708. 
ee Historia XL] II, Doc. 67, Par. 14. 

-Historia XLIII, Opuscule I, Par. 6. 

"Two years later a French writer, basing his opinion upon La Salle's 
-settlement, suggested as the western boundary of Louisiana, the Guada- 
lupe, which he describes as the Madeline, a sinall river falling into the 
"bay called by the Spaniards St. Bernard, and St. Louis by the French and 
which consequently is neither the Panuco nor the Del Norte. There is no 
evidence that this proposition received any official consideration. Cf. Mar- 
-gry, VI 185. 

*Margry, V 494. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 9 

ployed in the service of the colony, to open up an overland trade 
with Mexico. 

To accomplish his task Saint Denis passed in September, 1713, 
up the Red River as far as the Natchitoches and there built two 
houses, one for his goods and one for the guard to watch them. 
For several months Saint Denis curried on a vigorous trade in live 
stock with the Cenis and other Indian tribes. We learn from a 
letter addressed in 1711 to the governor of Louisiana, that he had 
expected to find among these Indians a certain Spanish friar, 
Father Hidalgo, whom he was to assist in establishing a mission 
a project that seemed to promise the opportunity to open up the 
desired trade. In this, however, he was disappointed, and after 
a return to Xatchez for more .goods, he pushed on through Texas 
with a few French and Indian companions, and early in 1715 
reached the Rio Grande at the Presidio of San Juan Bautista. 

From this point, after a few weeks' delay, he was taken to the 
City of Mexico, where his coming, though expected, caused great 
official activity. His presence in the country and his plans for 
internal trade revealed to the astonished Mexican officials the ease 
with which the French traders could enter their outlying provinces 
and endanger their hold upon the country beyond the Rio Grande, 
if not on the hither side of the river. Under the circumstances the 
aroused officials speedily planned the reoccupation of Texas. For 
personal reasons, and doubtless to help on the general scheme for 
the introduction of trade, Saint Denis readily agreed to enter the 
Spanish service and to guide the proposed expedition to the coun- 
try of the Texas Indians, where his influence would assure the 
Spaniards a welcome reception. 1 While accepting Spanish service 
and urging upon his new employers the advantages of the Missis- 
sippi as the eastward boundary of their possessions, he told them 
that the French claimed to Rio Grande, as a result of La Salle's 
luckless voyage. At the same time, although the above action 
rendered his recommendation useless, he wrote the governor 
of Louisiana, on September 7, apprising him of the proposed 
expedition to Texas and advising that the king of France should 

*The best account of the Saint Denis Expedition is by Clark in THE 
QUARTERLY, VI 1-26. The documentary sources for this article are found 
in Margry V and VI, and in Hemorias de Nueva Espana XXVII; Cf. also 
Le Page du Pratz. Histoire de la, Louisiane, I 10-24. 

10 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

demand the Eio Grande as the western boundary of Louisiana. 
The governor should also make an establishment on the Madelaine 
(Guadalupe) for the purpose of controlling the mines in the in- 
terior of Mexico. 1 

The result of the entrada of 1716, under the double leadership 
of Captain Domingo Ramon and Saint Denis was the reoccupation 
of the eastern frontier of Texas by the Spaniards. By means of 
mission station and presidial guard, aided by native converts, they 
hoped to impede future French encroachments. During 1716 and 
1717 six missions were established in the country to the eastward 
of the Trinity Eiver, the last of which, among the Adaes Indians, 
was only eight leagues from Natchitoches, a fort erected by the 
French in 1716. 2 The first step in the Spanish reoccupation of Texas 
was thus accomplished. Frontier outposts religious in character 
it is true, but effective if well supported were placed so as to cut 
off French aggression by the land route through the Texas In- 
dians, and orders were given to prevent these missions themselves 
from forming the channel of French contraband trade. 3 

These remote missions, far from the base of supplies, and gar- 
risoned by few soldiers, were insufficient to hold the province com- 
pletely, even if the missionaries were equally zealous in national 
and religious propaganda. Consequently the recommendation was 
made to advance missions to the San Antonio River, as a sort of 
half-way point, and to occupy the bay of Espiritu Santo (Mata- 
gorda) in order to open a communication by sea from Vera Cruz. 
This would prevent its use for the purpose of carrying on contra- 
band trade, and forestall the French claim to the Rio Grande. 4 

In accordance with the first of these suggestions the mission 
of San Antonio de Valero was founded near the site of mod- 
ern San Antonio, in 1718, to keep open communication between 
the Rio Grande and the eastern missions. The suggestion with re- 
gard to the bay of Espiritu Santo was not followed out till 1722. 

1 THE QUARTERLY, VI 19, note; Margry, VI 198-213; Bancroft, North 
Mexican States and, Texas, I 610, 613. It will be observed that the Mex- 
ican mines still appeal to the French adventurers. 

2 Bonilla, Breve Compendia, in Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII 9; 
Historia XLIII, Opusculo III, Par. II. 

"Dictamen Fiscal, November 30, 1716, in Memorias de Nueva Espana, 
XXII 226-235. 

'Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIII 226-235; Margry, V 212, 213. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. H 

With these measures Spain may be said to have acquired a more 
certain hold upon Texas, and to have extended her frontier to the 
Adaes mission, a few leagues west of the Eed River. 

The years following 1716 served to limit more definitely the 
Spanish and French frontiers. In 1717 Antoine Crozat gave up 
his commercial privileges in Louisiana and was succeeded by the 
Western Company. The change was beneficial in introducing more 
settlers among the French. Among those who obtained concessions 
was Bernard de la Harpe, whose land was located among the Cado- 
dachos, on the Eed River beyond the post of Natchitoches, where 
in 1717 the Spanish friars had made an unsuccessful attempt to 
found a mission. 1 In the latter part of 1718 La Harpe started 
out to take possession of his grant. Having established a post 
about a hundred leagues above Natchitoches in the country of the 
Nassonites, and mindful of the ever present commercial motive of 
his immediate employers the Western Company he attempted 
to open up a clandestine trade with Father Margil, a Franciscan 
friar connected with the Texas missions, by promising him a liberal 
commission on all sales made through his instrumentality. 2 

Instead of indignantly rejecting this underhand method of ad- 
vancing the spiritual interests of his missions, the priest promised 
to aid him by such secret means as were possible for one of his 
profession. 3 Meanwhile La Harpe reported his arrival to Don 
Martin de Alarcon, the commander of the Spanish troops in Texas, 
and thus provoked with that officer a warm correspondence which 
led each to a declaration of national limits. 4 Alarcon in his letter 
of May 20, 1719, expressed his surprise at the presence of French- 
men in the country of the Nassonites, which they must know be- 
longed to the Spanish king as an appurtenance of New Mexico. 
He advised him to retire from his position, before he should fore 3 
him to do so. In reply La Harpe not only claimed that the Nas- 
sonite post belonged to the French, because situated upon one of 
the tributaries of the Mississippi, but also asserted that the whole 
of the province of Texas formed part of Louisiana, by virtue of the 

^Historia XLIII, Opusculo III, Par. 17. 

"French, Historical Collections of Louisiana, Part III, 70: Margrv, VI 

"French, III 71; Margrv, VI 273-276. 

12 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

settlement made by LaSalle in 1685, and subsequent acts of posses- 
sion, which, however, he did not specify. He closed his letter with 
a challenge for Alarcon to come and dispossess him, but the latter 
did not see fit to make the attempt. 

During the remainder of the year La Harpe occupied himself 
in explorations to the west and northwest of his position, with the 
design of opening up a route to New Mexico, but reached no far- 
ther than a branch of the Arkansas in latitude 37 45', where he 
erected a cross upon which were carved the royal arms. 1 

This year, 1719, is celebrated in the history of the Louisiana 
frontier because of the precipitate retreat of the Spanish mission- 
aries and presidial troops from eastern Texas to the San Antonio 
Biver. War had broken out in Europe between France and Spain, 
and news of this event first reached the French colonial author- 
ities. To Blondel, the French commandant at Natchitoches, the oc- 
casion seemed to aiford a chance to extend the opportune 
protection of his garrison over the neighboring Spanish missions 
grouped about Adaes. Such a move might be necessary in view of 
the fact that most of the surrounding Indians were of French 
predilection. Unfortunately the missionaries and the small pres- 
idial guard did not understand his motive for advancing, and by a 
precipitate retreat to the San Antonio they threatened to destroy the 
future of French contraband trade on the Texas border. Kather 
than lose so important a trading center as Adaes a post estab- 
lished with great expenditure of French and Spanish effort La 
Harpe, when his attention was called to the matter, forced Blondel 
to write a most humble letter supplicating the friars to return and 
re-establish their missions. 2 

In obedience to orders from France, Bienville, in August, 1720, 
despatched a certain M. Beranger to reconnoitre St. Bernard's Bay 
to determine its feasibility for a settlement. Three months later 
Beranger returned, leaving a guard of five men, four of whom 
afterwards perished. As a result of his report, Bienville made La 
Harpe the commander of a formal expedition to plant a colony 
near the scene of LaSalle's disastrous settlement. He bore with 
him the survivor of Beranger's guards and was expressly ordered 

French, Hist. Coll. La., Ill 73., 74; Margry, VI 297. 

2 /6id., Ill 72; Garrison, Texas, 76, 77; Margry, VI, 300, 305, 306. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. U 

to use force to dispossess the Spaniards should he find them in the 
vicinity. As these orders were in conformity with royal instruc- 
tions of November 16, 1718, they may be regarded as the definite- 
assumption, by the French government, of a claim based upon 
LaSalle's unfortunate mistake. La Harpe immediately discovered 
that the neighboring Indians were utterly opposed to his settle- 
ment, and in view of his slender resources retreated to Mobile- 
This ended the last formal attempt of the French to take posses- 
sion of the Texas coasts. 1 

Following the events of 1719, the speedy restoration of peace pro- 
duced the counter movement of the Spaniards which resulted in a 
permanent occupation of eastern Texas by their presidials and 
missionaries. A patriotic resident of the province of Coahuila, 
the Marques de San Miguel de Aguayo, was the leader of this 
fifth and last of the entradas which marked the establishment of 
the Spaniards in Texas. Some years before, the Marques had be- 
sought the privilege of subduing and settling the province of Texas 
at his expense, but his plan had not then been judged expedient.. 
Now the Mexican authorities, spurred on by Espinosa, president of 
the east Texas missions, gladly accepted the renewal of Aguayofe 
offer, which insured the peaceful reoccupation of the positions 
abandoned in 1719. 2 

Aguayo's imposing force of more than 500 men would have- 
been sufficient to deter French opposition, had the latter cherished 
any such thought. Far from this, however, Saint Denis met the* 
Spaniards at the Neches, reported the retirement of the French 
to Xatchitoches, and, by means of his influence among the Indians, 
smoothed the way for the re-establishment of the Spaniards at 
Adaes. The Spanish diario of the journey, however, is filled with 
suspicious references to the supposed desire of the French to pen-- 
etrate to New Mexico of to the interior of Texas a desire that 
would be precluded by Spanish possession of the frontier beyond 
the Sabine. 

The double-dealing Saint Denis passed to Mobile to report to 

Tench, Hist. Coll. La., Ill 77, 95, 98; Margry, V 582; VI 347-354; 
Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I 616. 

2 The Diario of Aguayo's. entrada is found in Memorias de Nueva 
Espana, XXVIII, 1-62. For a brief account, see Garrison, Texas, 77-80.. 
For Espinosa's representation to the viceroy, cf. Historia XLIII, Optis-- 
culo III, Par. 25. 

14 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Bienville the arrival of the Spaniards. Despite Bienville's protest, 
the latter proceeded to reoccupy the various missions and posts 
formerly belonging to them, although the French commandant at 
Natchitoches wished them to await the return of Saint Denis. 
Some little exchange of courtesies for the purpose of spying out 
each other's strength resulted in the decision of each, in accordance 
with definite instructions from the home governments, to commit 
no overt act of hostility, but to restore the status quo of 1719. 
Thus the French did not hinder Aguayo in rebuilding the pres- 
idio of Adaes within seven leagues of Natchitoches, and at the 
same time they remained equally undisturbed within their post. 
It is true that Bienville, then acting as governor of Louisiana, op- 
posed this movement, but Saint Denis on the frontier and the 
Western Company at home were equally concerned to re-establish 
the Spaniards in their vicinity, so the protests of the governor 
counted for naught. 

The reoccupation of Adaes in 1721, and the resulting establish- 
ment during the following year of a post on Espiritu Santo 
Bay, emphasized the permanency which the authorities of 
New Spain wished to impart to the organization of Texas. The 
attempt to preserve as an aboriginal wilderness the country be- 
tween themselves and the nearest European colonists had failed; 
so, then, there was no recourse but to carve out a buffer province 
from the territory of the Indians. The danger that threatened 
from LaSalle became a serious menace in the person of Saint 
Denis with his double-dealing policy, and, therefore, withia less 
than a decade the outposts of Spanish civilization must advance 
from the Kio Grande to Adaes, in order to confront on the re- 
motest confines of the viceroyalty the invasion that seemed to en- 
danger the mines far within the interior. Neither France nor 
Spain effectively occupied the country to which each laid claim; 
but the reoccupation of Adaes by the Spaniards and the unmo- 
lested continuance of the French at Natchitoches both as the re- 
sult of direct orders from the home governments constituted a 
sort of informal acknowledgment that these posts were for the 
future to mark the respective limits of Texas and of Louisiana. 

Meanwhile, farther within the interior, the French and Span- 
jards were marking out lines of colonial expansion which though 

The Louisiana^Texas Frontier. 15 

ineffectual to control this portion of the continent, served to define 
more clearly their tentative frontier limits nearer the coast. At 
the mouth of the Arkansas, at a point where Tonty had in 1686 
established a small post, the Western Company maintained a 
storehouse which served as a way station for voyageurs passing up 
and down the river. 1 During the winter and spring of 1722, La 
Harpe pushed his explorations, by water and by land, some hundred 
leagues up this river, till the mutinous temper of his party warned 
him to avoid the fate of LaSalle. 2 In 1719, M. Du Tissenet passed 
from the country of the Illinois up the Missouri and Osage, to visit 
the Indians bearing the latter name and the Pawnees and the 
Padoucas (Comanches). Among these, on September 27, he took 
possession of the country and erected a column with the royal 
arms. 3 Somewhat later De Bourgemont established Fort Orleans 
on the Missouri, near the mouth of the Grand River, to serve as a 
center for the Indian fur trade and as an entrepot for trade with 
New Mexico, or as defense to Illinois against possible Spanish hos- 
tilities. From this point, in 1724, he made an important journey 
to the country of the Padoucas and neighboring nations. 4 

The Spaniards in New Mexico were not unmindful of the fact 
that their province was the ultimate goal of these explorations. 
Influenced by their vigorous representations, the viceroy ordered 
Don Antonio Valverde Cossio, then governor of that province, to 
send an expedition to the Pawnees, where he had heard that there 
were French establishments, and also to examine the "Quartelejo" 
with a view to locate a military post there. This latter place was 
probably somewhere in northwestern Kansas, and had been visited 
by Valverde on an expedition of the preceding year against some 
predatory savages. It was while on this expedition that the governor 
had heard of the nearby presence of the French. 5 

Trench, Hist. Coll. La., Ill 126; V 34. 

*Ibid., Ill 99, 100; V 35, 36; Margry, VI 378. 

'French, Hist. Coll. La., New Series, 151, 152; Margry, VI 313-315. 

4 Thwaite's Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I 49, 
note; Margry, VI 388 et seq., 398-452; Le Page du Pratz, Histoire de la 
Louisiane, IV 141-241. 

5 Bandelier, A. F., The Expedition of Pedro de Villazur in Papers of the 
ArchcBlogical Institute of America, V 179-206. See also French, Hist. 
Coll. La., Ill 87; Historia XLIII, Opusculo I, Par. 55, where the number 
of survivors is mentioned as thirteen. Some of the documents quoted by 
Bandelier are still in the New Mexico Archives, in the Library of Con- 

16 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

The ill-fated expedition of fifty New Mexican troops with In- 
dian auxiliaries left Santa Fe June 14, 1720, under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant-Governor Don Pedro de Villazur. The task 
before the latter was to make a reconnaissance of the country and 
to attempt by diplomatic means to win the Pawnees from the 
French. On August 15th the expedition arrived near the Platte, 
in the vicinity of their villages, and early the following morning 
all of the Spaniards except six or seven were massacred by a party 
of Pawnees, probably under French direction. Among the slain 
was Captain Juan de Archibeque, doubtless one of the survivors 
of LaSalle's expedition. After a comparatively successful career 
in New Mexico he was to expiate his share in the murder of LaSalle 
by falling at the hands of savages instigated by his former fellow- 

The destruction of this force so seriously crippled Spanish 
strength in New Mexico that the attempt to fortify so distant a 
post as the "Quartelejo" was abandoned, as were all similar ex- 
peditions. On the other hand, the defeat of Villazur proved for the 
French the first step in opening the trail to Santa Fe. In 1739 
came the visit to New Mexico of a group of French Canadian mer- 
chants under the Mallet Brothers, 1 who entered from the direc- 
tion of the Platte and returned by way of the Arkansas. As a 
result of their report Bienville proposed to open up commerce with 
New Mexico by way of the Arkansas and its tributaries, and, in 
1741, commissioned Fabry de la Bruyere, in company with four 
of the previous party, to undertake the task. In this, however, 
they were unsuccessful. If we may judge from other sources, there 
was a continuous infiltration of French adventurers during the 
succeeding years of the century. 2 


The imposing entrada of Aguayo determined that the occupa- 
tion of Texas by the Spaniards should include the site of LaSalle's 
unfortunate settlement and likewise Adaes, the farthermost point 

'Margry, VI 455-464, 472-492; Bandelier, loc. cit., 205. 

2 Annals of Congress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., 1097; New Mexico Archives, 1804- 
1806, passim; Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 147; Cox, "Early Explora- 
tion of Louisiana," 116-119, in University of Cincinnati Studies Series II, 
Vol. II. No. 1. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 17 

occupied by the Ramon-Saint Denis expedition. To this situation, 
which involved not merely overthrowing the former French preten- 
sions to the country as far as the Kio Grande and New Mexico, 
but even presenting a Spanish outpost under the very eyes of the 
garrison at Natchitoches, the court tacitly consented by 
issuing orders to maintain the status quo. This in a measure may 
be regarded as a negative acceptance of the territorial claims of 
each, so far as supported by actual settlement. 1 The Spanish of- 
ficers from the force of Aguayo who had visited the French gar- 
rison at Natchitoches had been received with greatest courtesy. 2 
Although then without definite instructions, the French local com- 
mander had promised to observe the peace, while the Spaniards 
claimed that the reoccupation of Adaes would not involve a breach 
of national faith. Thus the frontier situation rested for a decade 
and a half. 

The predominant motive for acquiescence in this Spanish occu- 
pation was a commercial one. This motive was frankly avowed in 
a memoir upon Louisiana prepared by La Harpe, probably about 
1723. 3 The greatest value of the provinces, in his estimation, was 
the opportunity they offered for clandestine trade with the neigh- 
boring Spanish provinces of "Lastekas," New Mexico, and Nuevo 
Leon. It is worthy of note that this frontier officer, who four years 
previously had made so vigorous a defense of the uncertain claim 
of his nation to the Rio Grande and to New Mexico, now recog- 
nized the new province of Spanish Texas as reaching to the vicinity 
of the Red River, near the point established by himself. 

Unfortunately, we have no Spanish documents that afford with 
equal clearness contemporary reasons for the acquiescence in French 
occupation of Louisiana. From writers of a later period 4 we may 
summarize the following statements. After the War of the Spanish 
Succession Spain abandoned its previous hostile attitude toward 
France. This was especially apparent in the policy of Philip V, who 
adopted a course little in keeping with national honor. It was this 

l Historia XLIII, Opusculo I, Par. 65. 

2 Morfi, Memorias para la Historia de Tejas, Lib. VI 69. MS., Lenox 

"French, Hist. Coll. La., Ill 112-115. 

*Historia XLIII, Opusculo I, par. 63-67 ; Documentos para la Historia 
de Mexico, First Series, Vol. XII, Correspondencia entre la Legation Ex- 
traordinaria de Mexico, etc., p. vi. 

18 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

epirit which was responsible for French pretensions, such as those 
displayed in the grant to Crozat, and for encroachments in which 
France was always the aggressor. But even during this period 
there was a limit to Spanish tolerance, and it is claimed that the 
Grand Monarch himself assured the Spanish king that if France 
continued to hold any points on the Gulf of Mexico, it would not 
be as possessor of the soil, but for the purpose of aiding the Span- 
iards to retard the advance of the English. 1 The presence of the 
French in Louisiana, then, was due simply to Spanish toleration, 
consequent upon the peculiar dynastic conditions of France and 
Spain, although there was some recognition of the influence of 
Spain's decadent position upon this result. 

This spirit of toleration likewise characterized Spanish policy 
alter 1721. The fact of French occupation was recognized, but not 
the right. This recognition, however, extended only to existing 
settlements, and prohibited any extension beyond a certain definite 
area. It was this permissive occupation, however, which affected 
the Spanish colonial dominions so unfavorably that Spain later 
gladly accepted the gift of Louisiana when the exigencies of the 
Family Pact rendered it advisable for France to offer it. 2 Such, 
according to Spanish interpretation, was the official position of 
the French and Spanish governments before the transfer of Louis- 
iana to the latter. It was a policy of negation rather than of ex- 
press official sanction, although every governor of Texas had ex- 
plicit orders to prevent further French encroachment. 

With the question neglected by the home governments, all suc- 
ceeding attempts at more accurate delimitation of the uncertain 
Louisiana-Texas frontier were the result of local initiative, and, as 
such, interesting from the standpoint of personal opinion rather 
than important in a national view. They are of some value, how- 
ever, as indicating a trend towards greater definiteness in designat- 
ing national areas. 

In 1727 Don Pedro de Kivera made an inspection of the pres- 
idios and missions of Texas. As a result of his visit, and despite 
the protests of the friars, the presidial garrisons were considerably 
reduced. This move indicated lessened fear of French invasion, 

1 Historla XLIII, Opusculo I, Par. 31. Cf. Margry, IV 543 et seq. 
"Historia XLIII, Opusculo I, Par. 38, 39, 57; Ibid., Document LXVII, 
Par. 18. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 19 

but led those friars belonging to the Convent of San Francisco at 
Queretaro to withdraw to the San Antonio Kiver. 1 

Some years later occurred the event which emphasized the tenta- 
tive frontier line for the remaining years of French occupancy. 
In 1735 the French moved their fort at Natchitoches about a 
gun-shot farther to the westward and away from the river, in order 
to escape occasional floods. As the French exercised jurisdiction 
over some ranches extending to the Arroyo Hondo, a small stream 
flowing into the Eed Eiver, and to an elevation known as Gran Mon- 
tana, Saint Denis, who cammanded the fort, unquestioningly obeyed 
when Bienville instructed him to make this move. Don Jose Gon- 
zales, then guarding the Spanish frontier in the absence of Gov- 
ernor Sandoval, promptly entered his protest and informed his 
superior of the occurrence. 2 The governor ordered his subordinate 
to give notice three times of the formal protest against this in- 
fringement upon Spanish territory, and if this action should be in 
vain, to compel the French to return to their former position. The 
action of Gonzales, however, simply resulted in a desultory corre- 
spondence continued until August, 1736. 

Between hostile Apaches who drew him away from the frontier 
to Western Texas, and smuggling French whose encroachments de- 
manded his presence at the border post of Adaes, Sandoval was in 
a hard place. Moreover, he had nothing beyond vague tradition of 
the early entradas to guide him in a diplomatic dispute, while 
his opponent was the crafty Saint Denis. He believed that his 
country could rightfully claim prior occupation of all the territory 
as far as the Eed Eiver, but his mere belief furnished an uncertain 
basis upon which to meet the arguments of the double-dealing 
Frenchman who had personally conducted the Spaniards into 
Texas. Sandoval had no positive orders to meet the particular 
situation. In a general way he was to harass and annoy the French 
as much as possible, and to drive them out of the limits of Texas; 
but he did not know what those limits were. When Saint Denis, 
from his personal experience, assured him that neither nation could 
rightfully claim all of the land intervening between Natchitoches 
and Adaes, and that even Aguayo had not objected to the presence 

1 Bonilla, Breve Compendia in Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII 13, 
15. See also Historic, XLIII, Opusculo III, Par. 29; Margry, VI, 237, 238. 
"Morff, Memorias, 222-225. 

20 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

of French ranches within that area, he hesitated to assume the re- 
sponsibility for beginning hostilities, and referred the whole mat- 
ter to the viceroy. 

One result of this correspondence was a proclamation by San- 
doval flatly prohibiting any commerce with the French, thus shut- 
ting Natchitoches off from what seems to have been its granary. 
A more important result was the subsequent observance by both 
sets of local officers of the Arroyo Hondo, mentioned above, as the 
limit of their respective colonial jurisdictions. 1 As the French 
and Spanish touched each other nowhere else in the west, a more 
extended delimitation was regarded as unnecessary. Sandoval, 
however, fared badly because of his share in the controversy. His 
successor brought suit against him on the charge of betraying the 
royal interests, and the resulting protracted litigation almost ruined 
the innocent and powerless governor. 2 

In 1738 there was published in Paris a history of Louisiana by 
Du Pratz. 3 This French officer, who had resided in the province 
from 1718 to 1734 naturally favored the pretensions of his gov- 
ernment and repeated the earlier statement that Louisiana ex- 
tended to New Mexico. Upon his map he represented the Rio 
Grande as the western boundary of Louisiana, as far as 29 25' 
north latitude. Thence the boundary left the river and ran paraPel 
with the Pecos about forty miles distant. There following a 
mountain chain, it finally ended in latitude 42 north. His 
claim, however, may be matched by that of Mota-Padilla, 4 who, in 
1742, spoke of the province of Texas as extending to the Eed 
River; or by the Franciscan Espinosa 5 who stated that the prov- 
ince reached to the Missouri; or by the auditor Altamira 6 and 
the cosmographer of New Spain, Villa-Sefior y Sanchez, 7 who 
claimed Adaes as its outpost. In general it is possible to disregard 

Memorias, 222-225 ; Historia LXIII, Document 73, Par. 23 ; Stod- 
dard, Sketches of Louisiana, 144. 

2 Bonilla, loo. tit., 18. 

3 Le Page du Pratz, Historic de la Louisiane. Cf. Historia XLIII, Opus- 
culo I, Pars. 19, 20, 72. 

*Matias de la Mota-Padilla, Conquista de la Nueva Galicia, 248. Guad- 
alajara, 1742. 

"Chronica Apostolica, 419. 

"Altaraira, Testimonio de un Parecer, in Yoakum, History of Texas, I 
386, 388. 

7 Don Joseph Antonio de Villa-Senor y Sanchez, Theatro Americano II, 
326. Mexico, 1746. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 21 

the testimony both of contemporary historians and of geographers, 
for they commonly follow national interpretation, and their state- 
ments balance each other. If, occasionally, one seems to favor the 
opposing nation, his apparent generosity is matched by like con- 
duct from the other side, as is shown by the maps of the Spaniard 
Lopez, and the Frenchman Vaugondy. 1 

While Prudencio de Orobio y Basterra held the office of governor 
ad interim (from 1737 to 1740), he recommended the establish- 
ment of a new presidio upon the Trinity River, in order to break 
up the commerce of the Indians in that vicinity jwith the French. 2 
This representation, however, seems to have attracted little or no 
attention from the viceroy, and the inattention may have encour- 
aged later governors to permit this illegal traffic. There are, how- 
ever, some indications that in 1744 Governor Vaudreuil of Louis- 
iana attempted to break up the trade of his subjects with the Span- 
iards. 3 

This trade with the French, openly countenanced and even par- 
ticipated in by succeeding Texas governors, became especially pro- 
nounced during the rule of Lieut.-Col. Don Jacinto de Barrios y 
Jauregui. Unfortunately, as one of the historians of the period 
writes, "it is hard to relate the events that occurred in his term 
in such a way as not to fall into the error of telling them too early 
or too late"; 4 yet certain of these events were important, for they 
led directly to the only attempt by a Spanish official to define the 
boundary between the French and Spanish colonies west of the 

Barrios took possession of his government late in 1751. Morfi 
and those who follow him report that afterward he permitted the 
settlement, upon the Trinity, of a Frenchman named Blancpain 
(or Lampen), with two compatriots and two negro slaves. These 
new settlers, so the report goes, assumed the character of Spanish 
subjects for the purpose of carrying on trade with the Indians; 
and because of their influence over the latter, rendered the prov- 
ince an important service. According to the authorities already 

1 See summary by Prof. John R. Ficklen in Publications of the South- 
ern Historical Association, V 351-387. 
2 Morff, Memorias, 232. 

*The Present State . . . of Louisiana. London, 1744. 
4 Bonilla, Breve Compendia, translated in THE QUARTERLY, VIII 48. 

22 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

mentioned, they supplemented this service by acting as the direct 
agents of the Spanish governor, who shared the profits of their 
trade. Even if this latter statement were true, and there certainly 
it reason to doubt it, their reported complicity with the governor 
availed them but little. After remaining upon the Trinity two 
months and ten days, Blancpain and his companions were arrested 
in October, 1754, and sent to Mexico City, where they were ex- 
amined on the 19th of the following February. Their succeeding 
fate is uncertain. One writer reports that he met Blancpain in 
Spain, whither he was transported, and another that he died in 
prison in Mexico City. 1 

Barrios's term of office was to close in 1756. As the time drew 
near he may have feared some unpleasant complications from the 
above affair in his inevitable residencia, or official inquiry into 
his administration. Accordingly, he represented to the viceroy the 
danger that menaced the province from French clandestine trade 
on the Trinity. Moved by the actual instance as well as by his 
vigorous representations, a junta of war held in 1755 decided to 
erect a new presidio upon that river and to settle some fifty Tlas- 
calan families in its vicinity. Barrios then effected an arrange- 
ment with his destined successor, Lieutenant Don Angel de Mar- 
tos y Navarrete, by which Barrios remained in Texas a year longer 
to assist in the erection of this new post, known as San Agustin 
de Ahumada. 2 

Notwithstanding his vigorous action in the case of Blancpain, 
Barrios found that he had not frightened away all French intrud- 
ers. Below Adaes, on the little river Flores, a certain M. Mass6 
established himself with his slaves; while a short distance away 
lived a M. Cortablan, likewise "without any other authority than 

1 BoniIla, loc.cit.; Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII; Morff, Memorias, 
316, 317; Historic, XLIII, Doc. LXX, Pars. 3, 5; Ibid., XLI, Par. 383. 
The details of this incident, as given by the ordinary authorities, includ- 
ing Morff, seem greatly distorted. Fortunately, my friend Prof. H. E. 
Bolton, has helped straighten the story by calling my attention to the 
fact that Blancpain's own statement, dated February 19, 1755, is to be 
found in the Bexar Archives. This document not only serves to fix the 
date of the incident, but also throws doubt upon the charge of Governor 
Barrios's complicity in the illicit trade carried on by the Frenchmen. 

"Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I 643; Cf. also the authori- 
ties cited in the previous note. Later this post was more familiarly 
known as Orcoquisac. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 23 

his own effrontery." 1 The establishment of the new presidio on the 
Trinity promised to relieve the situation very little; and even the 
viceroy, Amarillas, anxious as he was to keep out the French, 
recommended forbearance towards these intruders, in order to 
avoid hostilities. If we may credit later testimony there were also 
at this time extensive French trading settlements along the course 
of 'the Red River at the ancient Caddo village and Bayou Pierre; 
at Dout and among the ISTandaco Indians in the valley of the 
Sabine; and even some distance west of that river. 2 

One result of this unauthorized intrusion appeared during the 
unfortunate campaign of 1758 against the Apaches. 3 It was found 
that these savages were supplied -with firearms, evidently from 
French traders, and what was worse, that they were flying a French 
ilag. Its presence did not necessarily imply that Frenchmen 
formed part of the allied host, but flag and firearms were the signs 
of unscrupulous measures employed in stirring up the border In- 
dians against the Spaniards. In this campaign the dismayed Span- 
iards ingloriously retreated, leaving a large portion of their camp 
equipage and all of their artillery in possession of the exultant 
savages. Four 3ears later the Spanish missionaries complained 
of this illegal French trade, which not only prevented their own 
attempts at converting the Indians, but also threatened the intro- 
duction of French and even of English commerce far within the 

Meanwhile the report that the Spaniards were about to estab- 
lish a new presidio on the Trinity stirred up the French governor 
of Louisiana to revive well nigh forgotten claims to the whole 
of Texas. In 1756 a certain M. Livendais braved Spanish ex- 
clusiveness by presenting himself on board of a vessel in the harbor 
of Vera Cruz. 4 His mission was to purchase certain provisions and 
munitions . of war in which he was only partially successful 
and to protest against the erection of the new fortification. Liv- 
endais had desired to present his communication in person to the 
viceroy, but was denied the privilege, so he contented himself with 

Memorias, 318. 

'American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II 692-694; Annals of Con- 
gress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., 1076 et seq.; Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 145; 
John Sibley to (Maj. Amos Stoddard?) Sibley Papers, Mo. His. Soc. 

Bonilla, in Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII 30. 

*Historia, XLIII, Document LXX, Pars. 1, 2, 4; Morfl, Memorias, 318. 

24 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

sending from Vera Cruz the French governor's protest, which was 
based upon alleged "fantastic claims" to the whole province of 

To this communication the viceroy attempted no direct answer, 
but the possibilities suggested by continued French incursions 
backed by extensive territorial claims led him or his subordinate, 
Lieutenant Don Angel de Martos y Navarrete, who about this 
time succeeded Barrios in Texas, to make the most definite sug- 
gestion yet offered upon the subject of a boundary between the 
Spanish and French colonial possessions. This proposal, ap- 
parently the work of Governor Martos, may have been prepared 
by him some time between 1757 and 1759, and sent to the viceroy, 
Amarillas. Before the death of the latter, early in 1760, he in- 
corporated the proposal of his subordinate in a communication 
which was forwarded to Spain for royal consideration. The ex- 
igencies of the closing years of the Seven Years' War prevented 
any definite action by the Council of the Indies. When peace was 
finally restored, New Orleans and all of French Louisiana west of 
the Mississippi was ceded to Spain, so there was no necessity for 
prompt action in the matter. When the subject of Louisiana limits 
again acquired an international importance, the memoir was dis- 
covered in the archives of the Convent of San Francisco, in the 
City of Mexico, by Friar Melchor de Talamantes, while searching 
for material upon the subject of the limits of Louisiana and Texas. 
Although the document was anonymous and undated, it was iden- 
tified by an associate, probably Friar Jose Pichardo, as the work of 
Governor Martos, at the time above mentioned. 1 

1 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXX, Par. 14. The question of the date and 
authorship of the document is not so simple as its ecclesiastical editor 
would imply. Both Bonilla (QUARTERLY, VIII 67) and Morff (Memorias 
Bk. X., Par. 31), give 1757 as the date when Martos assumed command 
in Texas. Bancroft (North Mexican States and Texas, I 643) gives 
1760, but without a clear reference to this authority for the date. Pro- 
fessor Bolton informs me that a report by Governor Martos, dated at 
the capital, Adaes, December 6, 1759, is in the Bexar Archives. This seems 
conclusive, so far as the date of the governor's presence in Texas is con- 
cerned, and strengthens the belief that he may have been the author of 
the representation. The document itself contains a reference (Par. 3) 
to a cedula of May 4, 1760, and likewise mentions the strict union be- 
tween the crowns of France and of Spain. As will be pointed out, these 
statements do not necessarily affect the question of date or of authorship. 

The internal evidence of the document does not militate against the au- 
thorship of Martos. Certain expressions occur which show an intimate 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 25 

The Representation 1 begins by reviewing the mission of M. 
Livendais to Vera Cruz and the cases of Blancpain <and the other 
intruding Frenchmen, and utters a warning against permitting 
similar encroachments beyond the River of the Adaes or Mex- 
icano. 2 The author mentions the "strict union of the two crowns" 
and the desire of the Spanish sovereign to preserve peace through- 
out his dominions, although unforeseen accidents might prevent 
this. The possibility that France might emerge successfully from 
its present conflict with England 3 suggested the danger that when 
freed from menace in the north and east, France might not content 
itself with Louisiana alone, but might look with longing upon a 
province (Texas) whose natural wealth more than equalled the 
French Canadian possessions. This possibility led the author to 
suggest a plan for definitely fixing the limits while the relations 
between the two governments were still those of close friendship. 

The writer believed that on the Mexican frontier the Mississippi, 
at least as far as the Red River, would constitute the best boundary 
between the colonial possessions of the two nations. From the 
mouth of the Red, that river, as far as its main fork in the country 
of the Caddoes, 4 should continue the boundary, separating the 
French Indians from the Spanish Apaches, and also leaving under 

knowledge of local conditions in Texas. It is true that the general dis- 
cussion, as well as the two references just mentioned, seem to imply a 
broad international outlook, hardly to be expected in a mere provincial 
governor. This character may have been added to the original report by 
way of vice-regal comment. It is perfectly permissible, then, to assume 
that Martos was the author of the original representation, which was in- 
corporated in a later report of the viceroy, Amarillas, or his immediate 
successor. It is in this form only that the document is known to us. 

The suggestion might naturally arise that this document was possibly 
fabricated after 1803, in order to support Spain's territorial pretentions. 
Neither external facts nor internal evidence lend any color whatever to 
this suggestion. We may reasonably conclude that the memoir was for- 
warded by Governor Martos from Texas previous to 1760, and that 
shortly after that date it was incorporated in a vice-regal report to the 
council of the Indies. 

ir The Representation proper comprises some nineteen paragraphs of 
Document LXX, Historia XL/Ill. 

2 The name Mexicano was later uniformly applied to the Sabine. Adaes 
was situated some distance to the east of the river, but notwithstanding 
this position, the name might easily be applied to the Sabine as well as 
that of Natchitoches to the Red. Each was the most important post in 
the vicinity of its nearest river. Cf. Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 145. 

'This expression tends to support the view that the Representation was 
composed before 1760. 

*The Caddodachos or Caddodaquious. The point indicated is the de- 
flection of the Red from the easterly course to one almost south. 

26 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Spanish influence the Chitimachas, Opelousas, and Attakapas. 
From the forks of the Bed River, following the most northern 
branch, the line should run in a northerly direction to the Ar- 
kansas, and thence to the Missouri. Although the French had 
penetrated about a thousand leagues up this river, they afterward 
had abandoned their settlement 'and ceased further exploration. 
The various divisions of the proposed line could be run so as to 
separate the Indians that were natural enemies, thus emphasizing 
its definiteness. 

Possibly the French would be loath to abandon their long estab- 
lished post at Natchitoches, and the various scattered ranches ex- 
tending equally far to the westward. In that event it would be 
advisable to move the first portion of the proposed line over to the 
Adaes Eiver (Sabine) and to extend it in a northerly direction to 
the Red. This would be preferable to leaving the question open 
any longer, especially if the Spaniards strengthened themselves by 
new establishments on the Texas coast. 

The proposed line, following the Sabine, Red, Arkansas, and 
Missouri rivers, was definitely to mark out the sphere of influence 
of each nation among the Indians, and likewise its area for explor- 
ation and development. The great mineral wealth of the interior 
of New Spain, separated by vast distances from the French fron- 
tier, would no longer present the temptation to encroachment 
which had previously threatened the peace of the two nations. 
Freed from this danger, and with adequate instructions, the colon- 
ial government would be able to enforce all laws of the home gov- 
ernment and to insist upon the most inviolable observance of its 
treaty privileges and obligations. These were the reasons that led 
the writer to recommend the abandonment of the untenable policy 
of regarding the French as intruders upon the Gulf coast and the 
acknowledgment of their right to a certain well-defined area in 
order to preserve intact the vast regions still claimed by the Spanish 

With the customary disregard that characterized the Spanish 
home government during this period, the document was unheeded 
for more than four decades. Its main features were then revived 
to meet the menace of a more dreaded encroachment, but unfortu- 
nately for Spain, too late to 'achieve the desired result. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 27 


Although suggestions from the viceregal court concerning a 
boundary with the French remained unheeded, the same indiffer- 
ence did not display itself when an opportunity arose to obtain the 
whole of Louisiana. The exigencies of the Family Compact made 
it desirable to reward Spain for her unfortunate share in the Seveu 
Years' War. Although the government of Louis XV may also 
have desired to get rid of an unprofitable colony, yet the Spanish 
government apparently considered no alternative but to accept the 
proffered possession. In fact the manner in which the colonial 
officials of Louisiana, from a Spanish point of view, had disre- 
garded their obligations of good neighborhood, rendered no other 
course possible. 1 

From November 3, 1762, the date of the secret transfer of 
Louisiana to Spain, until May 2, 1803, when Napoleon and the 
American commissioners signed the formal deed of cession to the 
United States, the final disposition of Louisiana was a matter of 
doubt; while the various questions arising from its possession re- 
mained to perplex American diplomacy and policies until 1853. 
Thus it may be truly said that the forty years preceding 1803 
were, so far as Louisiana was concerned, years of preliminary 
preparation for the great transfer which exerted so important an 
influence on American political events during the next half cen- 

The tender of Louisiana to the Spanish sovereign was made on 
November 3, 1762, and his acceptance was received ten days later. 2 
But it was not until 1769 that Don Alexander O'Keilly took posses- 

/ JL 

sion of the colony, after suppressing in New Orleans an incipient re- 
bellion of Spain's new subjects. The acceptance of the province 
did not in any way mark its full reception into the number of Span- 
ish colonies. By the terms of the cession Louisiana was to enjoy cer- 
tain trading privileges that were denied to the other dependencies 
of Spain. Bather than break down the system of commercial 
monopoly that had characterized Spain's colonial policy up to this 

1 Historia XLIII, Opusculo I, Par. 69; Political Science Quarterly, XIX 

'French, Hist. Coll. La., V 128, 143, 235-239. 

28 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

point, Louisiana was to be administered as a possession quite dis- 
tinct from its neighboring provinces. The barrier that separated 
Louisiana from Texas largely an uncertain paper one must be 
emphasized, in order that the former colony might not prove a 
breach in Spain's wall of commercial exclusion. 

A change that marked a step in advance along the Louisiana 
border occurred almost contemporaneously with the official trans- 
fer. During the early months of 1764 some 650 Acadians ar- 
rived at New Orleans. 1 A portion of these were settled on the 
banks of the Mississippi, but the greater number at Attakapas and 
Opelousas. As Natchitoches was previously the only formal French 
settlement west of the Eed River, this migration emphasizes a 
movement of French speaking people towards the Sabine. The 
event, however, occurred after the official transfer of the province 
to Spain, and although that power had not yet taken possession, 
the movement can not be regarded as strengthening the claims of 
France to the region between the Mississippi and the Sabine. 2 

The transfer of the colony did not promise an immediate con- 
version of illegal French traders into law-abiding Spanish sub- 
jects. The presidio upon the Trinity, designed to break up this 
trade, became the scene of a quarrel between Governor Martos 
and Captain Rafael Martin Pacheco, during which the Captain 
was arrested and the presidio burned. Later the governor was 
removed from office. 3 This quarrel may have arisen on account 
of contraband trade. The frontier missionaries of the period em- 
phasize the lamentable effect of such irresponsible trading upon 
their neophites. 4 These complaints continued even after the Span- 
iard, O'Reilly, assumed command at New Orleans. The Indians 
were supplied with firearms and munitions by which they became 
more dreaded on the frontier. The Spaniards blamed the French 
and the latter the English; but it was a matter of common knowl- 
edge along the border that many French fortunes owed their origin 
to this trade. This, of course, could not be prevented while Louis- 
iana belonged to France, and after the transfer only the lawless per- 
sisted in the traffic. One unfortunate result was the opportunity 

French, Hist. Coll. La., V 146, note. 

"Robin, Voyages dans I'Interior de la Louisiane, III 153, 154. 
"Bonilla, Breve Compendia, Translation by West, QUARTERLY, VIII 58. 
4 Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIII, 170. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 29 

for expansion which this illegal practice opened to the English 
after they became established at Natchez. With the Missouri af- 
fording a highway into the interior they could not be wholly ex- 
cluded, and O'Reilly in self-defense was forced to use Natchitoches 
as a center from which to supply munitions to certain of the 
tribes. 1 

An attempted retrograde movement on the part of the Spanish 
home government followed the visita of the Marques de Rubi in 
1767, and threatened still further to complicate the border situa- 
tion. Some five years after the report of Rubi the Spanish king 
issued, September 10, 1772, an order known as the "New Regula- 
tion of Presidios," 2 which practically embodied Rubi's proposals. 
In effect his "New Regulation" marked an attempt at temporary 
relinquishment of Spain's uncertain hold on a large part of the 
territory between the Rio Grande and the Mississippi, in favor of a 
greater concentration near the valley of the former. With Spain 
in control of both Texas and Louisiana, the latter colony became 
the rampart against English aggression, thus removing the neces- 
sity for missionary and presidial outposts in eastern Texas. At 
the same time the peril from the Apaches and other hostile Indians 
far within the interior provinces measurably increased. Conse- 
quently prudence demanded the abandonment of useless stations on 
the Texas-Louisiana frontier with a concentration of forces upon 
the San Antonio and Rio Grande rivers, whence an exterminating 
war might be waged against hostile natives. 

To carry into effect this proposed defense of the more populated 
portions of the viceroyalty, a line of fifteen frontier forts, forty 
leagues apart, was to extend from Bahia del Espiritu Santo, near 
the mouth of the San Antonio River, to the head of the Gulf of 
California. Beyond this cordon of forts two outposts, San Antonio 
de Bexar, in Texas, and Santa Fe, in New Mexico, were to repre- 
sent the extreme garrisons of New Spain. The forces at Bexar 
and at Bahia were to be increased by the abandonment of Adaes 
and Orcoquisac, while the military efficiency of all the presidios 
was to be increased by the appointment of a new general officer, 
the inspector comandante of the interior provinces. To this office 

'Bonilla. in THE QUARTERLY, VIII 66, 68, 69. 

2 The essential features of the "Regulation" are summarized by Bolton 
in THE QUARTERLY, IX 79-81. 

30 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the viceroy appointed Don Hugo Oconor, who had recently served 
as governor ad interim of Texas. 

At first thought it would seem that the issue of this royal decree 
marks the definite abandonment by the Spanish government of all 
the province of Texas beyond the San Antonio Eiver. It so chances 
that this presidial line roughly corresponds to what the French had 
formerly claimed as the western boundary of Louisiana, but ap- 
parently long since abandoned. But this proposed relinquishment 
of the greater part of Texas was to the Indians and not to the 
French. Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, was now a Spanish 
province, so there was no necessity for a garrison in east Texas 
to prevent the extension of its western frontier. The proposed 
relinquishment of the greater part of Texas was only the result of 
a temporary policy, which in turn would be reversed when New 
Spain again felt the necessity for expansion. Meanwhile the ac- 
quisition of Louisiana denoted the fact that the Spanish frontier 
now extended to the Mississippi, where possible encroachment must 
be restrained by her newly acquired citizens. As a matter of fact, 
east Texas was never wholly abandoned, and those settlers who re- 
moved to San Antonio shortly afterward returned, despite the 
express royal order to the contrary. 

A prominent figure upon the Texas-Louisiana frontier in the 
years following 1770 was Athanase de Mezieres, a Frenchman in 
Spanish service as commandant of the post at Natchitoches. He 
was well-known and influential among the various Indian tribes of 
the border, particularly along the Eed Eiver, and had personally 
visited most of them. Mezieres was perfectly willing to turn 
his influence over the Indians to Spanish account. His plan, 1 in- 
dorsed by Eipperda, differed from that of Eubi in that while he 
favored abandoning the useless missions and presidios in eastern 
Texas, it was for the purpose of erecting a new presidio among 
the northern Indians of Texas rather than removing the soldiers 
and settlers to the San Antonio. The command of this presidio 
should be given to Luis de Saint Denis, son of the famous trader 
and frontier commander of the preceding generation. For the 
successful prosecution of warfare against the hostile Indians, espe- 

^UAKTEBLY, VIII 63-68; IX 91. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 31 

cially the Apaches, some three hundred French chasseurs should 
be recruited in Louisiana. 

The purpose of Mezieres, as stated by him in these various 
recommendations, was to present a serious obstacle to the threat- 
ened advance of the English, although his trading interests among 
the northern Indians may have furnished an equally strong motive. 
His letters and journals of the y ears 1778 and 1779, 1 however, as 
well as his earlier letters, are full of the danger threatening from 
the English, owing to their secure position upon the east bank of 
the Mississippi, the easy ingress afforded by the Missouri and the 
hostile Osages, and the unscrupulousness with which they intro- 
duced firearms among the Texas Indians, in order to incite them 
against the Spaniards. They likewise appeared to be tampering 
with the Pawnees, through whom they were attempting to influence 
the Taovayases. It is interesting to note that he mentions the 
internecine struggle then dividing the English, but he states that 
the colonies, if successful, will prove no better neighbors than Eng- 
land herself. His proposals embody the plan of protecting the 
country- west of the Mississippi by a line of presidios from that 
river to New Mexico, garrisoned by the combined forces of the 
French and Spaniards in Louisiana and Texas. The two essentials 
to its complete success are perfect reciprocity in trade between the 
two colonies, by way of the Trinity Eiver and Opelousas, and the 
good will of the Indians. His plans seem to promise measurable 
success, but the jealousy and sloth of the viceregal and home gov- 
ernments rendered them nugatory. 

Meanwhile in March, 1773, the viceroy ordered Oconor to carry 
out the policy of abandoning the presidios and missions of eastern 
Texas. The settlers from Adaes were first transferred to San 
Antonio, but upon petition to the viceroy, Governor Ripperda 
permitted them, in 1774, to erect a temporary establishment, known 
as Bucareli, upon the banks of the Trinity. 2 A secondary reason 

1 Historia XLIII, Opusculo IV; Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIII 
243, 278; THE QUARTERLY, IX 91-93. 

*Historia LI, Petition of Antonio Gil y Barbo. For the details, of this 
whole movement, cf. Bolton, "The Spanish Abandonment and Reoccupation 
of East Texas," in THE QUARTERLY, IX 67ff. A few of the Adaes settlers 
apparently never quit the vicinity of their homes. These, with the neigh- 
boring French, upon the withdrawal of the Spanish garrison, took the 
opportunity to engage still more extensively in trade with the Texas In- 
dians (Hid., 88). 

32 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

that had influenced the authorities in abandoning the eastern part 
of the province had been the desire to break up the illicit trade 
with the English, French, and Indians, carried on principally by 
the leading resident of Adaes, Antonio Gil Ybarbo, and a French 
merchant, Nicolas de la Mathe, of Point Coupee, Louisiana. It 
was supposed by some of the officials that the reason Ybarbo and 
his fellow settlers wished to return to the Trinity was to resume 
this trade. Nevertheless, the removal from eastern Texas had 
caused so much suffering that the petition of those involved was 
granted ; and with many instructions designed to check contraband 
trade, Bucareli was duly established. 

The petition of the settlers to return to eastern Texas had ap- 
pealed .to the Governor,' who desired to guard that section against 
English intrusion and to keep the Indians attached to the Span- 
iards. The situation upon the Trinity was, however, very un- 
favorable, as alternate experiences of flood and drought, added to 
attacks by the Comanches, soon taught its inhabitants. Under the 
leadership of Gil Ybarbo they made another removal in 1779, to 
Nacogdoches, which henceforth received a sort of official endorse- 
ment and became the center of Spanish influence in eastern Texas. 
This community, together with the establishment on the San An- 
tonio River, constituted the only formal settlements in the prov- 

While the new settlement had been located upon the Trinity 
charges were freely made against its inhabitants for engaging in 
clandestine trade, not merely with the French, but also with the 
English, although they had been especially ordered to break up this 
intercourse. Ybarbo, their commandant, the French merchant 
Nicholas de la Mathe, and even Governor Ripperda, were charged 
with participating in this traffic, and thus indirectly terrorizing 
the settlements upon the San Antonio River and farther within 
Mexico through Indian raids stirred up by foreign traders intro- 
duced along the Trinity. 1 Trade with the Louisiana French or 
with the English was alike illegal, but this practice characterized 
the new settlers at Nacogdoches, and resulted in a moderate 
degree of prosperity. In 1779 the community was officially recog- 

^Historia LI, Correspondence of Viceroy Bucareli regarding the Trinity 
settlers; also THE QUARTERLY, IX 102-105,, 119-122. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 33 

nized, and nine years later had a population of between two hun- 
dred and two hundred and fifty French and Spaniards, housed 
in some eighty or ninety wooden buildings. In 1801 two 
travelers report the fighting rtrength of its population at 
four hundred and speak of an extensive commerce with Louis- 
iana. 1 From other sources we know that by this time the original 
French and Spanish elements had been joined by an American con- 
tingent that speedily monopolized the fur trade. 2 The jurisdiction 
of Nacogdoches, about 1785, was extended to the little settlement 
of Bayou Pierre, on the Eed River, thus including what had been 
a former French establishment, 3 and in a measure counteracting 
the spread of that people in Attakapas and Opelousas. Contra- 
band trade seems still to have been the main interest of the popula- 
tion, including officials. 4 

Beyond the attempted abandonment of the settlements of east- 
ern Texas, none of the measures proposed by the local authorities 
for the development of Texas were considered by the viceregal of- 
ficials or by the home government. In addition to the above un- 
fruitful suggestion of Mezieres, it was proposed to open free 
trade between Louisiana and Texas, establish one or more ports 
upon the Gulf coast of the latter, and adopt the Sabine as the 
boundary between the two provinces. Governor Ripperda of Texas, 
Oabellero De Croix, the chief executive officer of the newly-created 
eastern Internal Provinces, and Mezieres, the local commandant at 
ISTatchitoches, all 3 united in recommending this policy either wholly 
or in part, but in vain. The jealousy of a possible rival port led 
the Sola de Consulado of Vera Cruz, some eight years after the 
proposal, to suggest a solution of the Question that would "unite 
the interests of the State with the well-being of the two provinces, 
and without prejudice to that of New Spain." Such a course sim- 
ply meant no action upon the proposal. At this same time (1785- 
86) an expedition under Castro and Evia explored the coast of 

Historia LXII, Document VII; Ibid., Doc. LXIX. 

-Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol. 76, No. 7; House Doc. No. 50, 19 Cong., 
1 Sess. 

3 Annals of Congress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., 1097. 

'Historic, C, Doc. 6; see THE QUARTERLY, VII 208; Perrin du Lac, 
Voyages dans les Deux Louisianes, 375 (Paris, 1805). 

"The correspondence upon this topic is found in Historia XLIII, Doc. 
XLI. For complete title, cf. Bolton, in THE QUARTERLY, VI 108. See 
also Historia XLIII, Opusculo, IV. Par. 6. 

34 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

New Santander and Texas and recommended the mouth of the 
Itio Grande as the proper place for a port. Their recommendation 
seemed to favor a location which would turn Texas trade towards 
Mexico rather than towards Louisiana. In 1788 or 1789 the vice- 
roy, after a representation from a certain De Blanc, commander at 
Natchitoches, reinforced by a letter from Governor Miro of Louis- 
iana, reported the whole affair to Soain; ana on March 1st, 1790, 
orders were received to suspend all action. Thus an opportunity 
was lost to develop the internal resources of the colony and to fix 
the limits definitely at the Sabine. 

Aside from this ineffectual attempt to fix the limits of Texas, 
the boundary notices of this period among Spanish records are 
few and very vague. Friar Augustin de Morfi visited the prov- 
ince in 1778, and one portion 1 of his Memorias mentions the east- 
ern limit of the province as "the Adaes" and in another 2 as the 
"Rio vermejo 6 de Natchitoches." He likewise mentions its colon- 
ial neighbors on the east as "Louisiana" and "English colonies." 
Six years before Governor Ripperda had spoken of the Mississippi 
as the western limit of Louisiana; 3 but his co-laborers, the cdbildo 
of San Fernando (San Antonio) stated it more correctly as "the 
Adaes." 4 Bonilla likewise places the limit at this point. 5 Me- 
zieres 6 probably gave Morfi his idea that both Louisiana and the 
English colonies bordered Texas on the east. While these notices 
tend to emphasize the previous tacit observance of the line between 
Adaes and Natchitoches, they are too vague for a more satisfactory 
generalization. There is nothing from the Louisiana side to sup- 
ply this deficiency. The possession by Spain of both provinces did 
not, so far as reciprocal commerce was concerned, render the sub- 
ject unimportant, but the practice of the Spanish government in 
other respects conveys the opposite idea. 

In 1785 Stephen Miro, the governor-general of Louisiana, in- 
formed the viceroy of New Spain that the French had left no 

^Bk. I, Par. 2. 


3 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXXIII, Par. 28. 

Representation to Ripperda, July 7, 1770. Memorias de Nueva Espana, 
XXVIII. The name "Adaes" refers to the Indians and not to the Sabine 


*Hemorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIII 278. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 35 

documents at New Orleans relating to the limits of Louisiana. 1 
In March, 1788, Don Angel Angelino prepared a map of the prov- 
ince of Texas, evidently from data furnished by Evia's expedition, 
but our authority contains no description of it. 2 Later Miro urged 
the adoption of the Sabine as the boundary and the establishment 
of reciprocal commerce between his province and Texas. The Eng- 
lish, meaning the people of the newly established United States, 
would now be kept away from the Mississippi, so there would be no 
danger in establishing free trade between the two provinces. This 
suggestion is in keeping with the 'determination of the Spaniards 
to deprive the United States of the use of the Mississippi, or of 
any establishment upon its banks below the Ohio. Miro's advocacy 
of the Sabine as the boundary did not appear to make that sugges- 
tion any more acceptable to the Spanish home government. 3 In 
1799 the map of Don Juan de Langara 4 was published, and upon 
this the Sabine was given as- the boundary. This map was later 
criticised by a Spanish writer as purely maritime and prepared 
when the question of limits was of little importance, and there- 
fore a map that could not be cited upon that point. 5 An American 
criticises it as being on too small a scale, and like all others extant, 
as failing to give an adequate idea of the coast between the Missis- 
sippi and the Sabine. 6 

Comparatively little was added to the store of geographical 
knowledge concerning the Louisiana-Texas frontier by travelers 
and explorers during this period. Important visitas of the Texas 
establishments occurred in 1762 and 1767. 7 The inspection of 
Marques de Eubi in 1767 has already been mentioned, but this, 
as in the case of the preceding, only incidentally touched upon 
geographical details. The map of the engineer la Fora, who ac- 
companied Eubi, is interesting as showing the position of Texas with 
reference to its neighbors on the south and west, but it gives no ac- 
curate information regarding the eastern boundary of that prov- 

^Historia XLIII, Doc. LXXIII, Par. 16. 
2 Ibid, Pars. 8, 18. 

3 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXXIII, Par. 19. 
4 Historia XLIII, Opuscule I, Pars. 18, 71. 

"Claiborne Correspondence IV, D. Clark to Jefferson. 
'Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIII 170, XXVII 374. 

36 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

ince. 1 The same may be said of the famous inspection of 1778 
under Cabellero de Croix, who was accompanied by Padre Morfi. 2 
A record of one of the numerous journeys of Mezieres among the 
Indians of northeastern Texas has been preserved to us ; 3 and while 
this contains some geographical data concerning the rivers of east 
Texas, like his letters, it is especially important for its description 
of the Indians. The same is true of the really remarkable journey 
of Pedro Vial, 4 from San Antonio to Santa Fe, by way of Colo- 
rado, Brazos, Red, and Pecos rivers. The following year Vial re- 
turned by way of the Red River and Nacogdoches to San Antonio. 5 
In 1801, two residents of Louisiana made the journey from Vera 
Cruz to New Orleans, 6 recording many interesting observations 
upon the country traversed. These various journals, however, 
added more to the wealth of Spanish archives than to the general 
knowledge of the period. 

We have already noted that after 1763 the English settlements 
upon the eastern bank of the Mississippi threatened to interfere 
materially with the attempted policy of exclusion on the Texas 
frontier. The danger became more menacing when, in 1772, Eng- 
lishmen were reported to be among the Indians near Natchitoches 
and later on the Trinity. An investigation from Bahia was or- 
dered, in the course of which Captain Cazorla discovered among 
the natives what he thought to be English arms, but no English- 
men. The natives said that they obtained the arms through French 
traders, who would not permit the English to approach the Indian 
villages. Two years later an English vessel remained in the Neches 
long enough to raise a crop. In 1777 an English vessel loaded with 
brick was reported as wrecked in the same river. Ybarbo, who was 
sent from Bucareli to investigate the wreck, found it on Sabine 
Lake, where it had been plundered by the Attakapas. He also ex- 
plored the coast as far west as the Trinity in search of another 
English vessel reported to be in the vicinity, but achieved nothing 
beyond finding an English sailor, marooned from a passing 

'THE QUARTERLY, IX 74, note 2. 

2 Morfl, Viaje de Indios y Diario del Nuevo Mexico, in Documentos para 
la Historia de Mexico, Second Series, Vol. I. 
"Historia XLIII, Opusculo IV. 
*IUd., XLIII, Doc. L. 
*IUd., LXII, Doc. VII. 
"Tbid., LXII, Doc. LXIX. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 37 

Jamaica vessel. He made a sketch map of the region traversed, 
and later, in the summer of 1777, departed upon another tour of 
exploration from the Trinity to the Brazos, but with what result 
we are not informed. 1 

These incidents may indicate either a simple exploration of the 
coast by the English or an attempt to settle, defeated by Indian 
hostility. At any rate, rumors of their presence at various points 
stirred Governor Bipperda to unwonted activity in patrolling the 
coast. The greatest fear of governor and viceroy arose from the 
fact that these dreaded energetic pioneers were more able than the 
French to destroy the uncertain hold of the Spanish upon the Texas 
Indians, and less scrupulous in the methods they employed. The 
conquest of the Floridas by Governor-General Galvez, in 1779- 
3781, promised for a time to remove this peril, provided the new 
American Kepublic could be restricted to the eastward of the Ap- 
palachians. When the attempt of French and Spanish diplomacy 
to accomplish this result was foiled, the energies of the Spanish 
court were bent to the task of keeping the new power from the 
lower Mississippi, and for a decade and a half with success. Yet 
during this very period there appeared upon the Louisiana-Texas 
frontier the pioneer representatives of the very migration that 
Spain so greatly dreaded. A typical class of these border repre- 
sentatives is well illustrated by their most prominent prototype, 
Philip Nolan, whose career will be treated in a later chapter. 


Negotiations for the retrocession of Louisiana to France began 
almost as soon as those frontier movements which determined its 
ultimate possession by an English-speaking people. For a time it 
seemed that the final ownership of this vast province was a ques- 
tion to be determined by European diplomacy, and diplomacy cer- 
tainly hastened its final solution. For this reason it is necessary to 
review diplomatic manoeuvres, as forces supplementing frontier ex- 
pansion, in order fully to comprehend all the influences which af- 
fected the Louisiana-Texas frontier after 1803. One must, however, 
remember that aside from hastening certain frontier complications, 

l Historia XLIII, Opusculo IV, Par. IV; Correspondence of Viceroys, 
Vol. 33, No. 703; Vol. 67, No. 1827; Carta of Ripperda, Hemorias de 
Niieva Espana, XXVIII; Bancroft, North Mexican States. I 631; Bolton 
in THE QUABTEBLY, IX 102, 117, 118. 

38 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

diplomacy hardly affected the final result. Louisiana and Texas 
were destined to belong to the population that could best cope with 
the primitive conditions of the Mississippi Valley, and that popula- 
tion was composed of Anglo- American pioneers. It is true that,, 
for certain purposes, individuals of this class temporarily acknowl- 
edged foreign allegiance, but ultimately they found themselves 
under the flag of the United States. This was the history of the 
successive waves of American migration to the Southwest, and was 
as true of the decade preceding the nineteenth century as of that 
approaching its middle course. 

The intriguing period of Louisiana diplomacy was ushered in by 
a proposal usually attributed to the Comte de Vergennes looking to 
a retrocession of Louisiana to Prance. The French minister is 
credited with a memoir 1 written sometime before the American al- 
liance outlining the course which France should pursue in the event 
of American independence. Vergennes believed that if the Amer- 
icans were successful in the conflict they would covet Florida,, 
Louisiana, and Mexico countries that were useless to them as 
colonials, but which as an independent people would render them 
masters of all the important straits of the Gulf. By entering into- 
the conflict he believed that France could compel her hated rival 
England to cede the territory west of the Appalachians, together 
with a portion of Canada. To complete her possessions on the 
American continent, Spain should yield Louisiana to its former 
possessor. Thus the liberated colonies, hemmed in bv the moun- 
tains, would remain in perpetual dependence upon the mistress of 
the Mississippi Valley, now restored to a position far stronger than 
that preceding the Seven Years' War. Whether or not Vergennes- 
was the author of this memoir, it is in keeping with his later 
policy in favoring Spain at the expense of the United States. This 
policy was dictated not so much by a desire to please Spain as to 
advance France in her aspirations to regain control of the Missis- 
sippi Valley. An additional motive may be found in the secret 

1 Cf. American Historical Review, X 250-252. The significant pages of 
the printed memoir are 27-30; 100-114. I have used the copy in the King 
collection of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio. In em- 
phasizing the usefulness of Louisiana to Spain and the necessity of a 
union of that power with France in order to check the spread of the Eng- 
lish or Americans, Vergennes seems to revert to many of the ideas ex- 
pressed in the early memoirs of Iberville (cf. Margry, IV 30). 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 39 

overtures of certain inhabitants of Louisiana to the French min- 
ister in Philadelphia, looking to their deliverance from Spanish 
control. 1 

By 1779 the prospect of being able to profit by the humiliation 
of Great Britain led Spain into the conflict in which France and 
the United States were already allied. Campaigns waged during 
the next two years successively brought the Natchez district, Mo- 
bile, and Pensacola under the control of the energetic young Gov- 
ernor-General of Louisiana, Don Bernardo de Galvez. 2 These suc- 
cesses promised to return to Spain the territory ceded to England 
in 1763, with possible additions that would rivet still more strongly 
her control of the Mississippi. Under the circumstances the posi- 
tion of Spain towards the new republic became of the utmost im- 

It may be stated as a general truth that if the Spaniard dis- 
trusted the Englishman, he mingled detestation with the distrust 
with which he regarded the American. For more than a year 
Spain persistently refused to join France in a war waged in behalf 
of American independence ; and when she finally entered the strug- 
gle, it was as the ally of France and not of the United States, 
and to secure more completely her colonial possessions against any 
ambitious projects of the latter. Just as in 1762 the Spanish 
government was willing to accept the unprofitable colony of Louis- 
iana in order to get rid of troublesome French neighbors west of 
the Mississippi, so now she was induced to enter a conflict that was 
distasteful to her, for the purpose of restricting far more unde- 
sirable neighbors to the country east of the Appalachians. Wash- 
ington believed that Galvez personally was a true friend of the 
Americans, 3 but the case was far different with the home officials 
who immediately took measures to profit by his conquests. The 
Spaniards believed that free navigation of the Mississippi was a 
necessary corollary to settlement upon its banks, and their jealous 
fears led them to refuse the former, in order to render the latter 
unsuccessful. This was doubtless the strongest motive that had 
led them into a conflict where they hoped to gain the Floridas and 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, I, 947. 
2 For an account of these conquests, cf. GayarrS, Hist, of La., III. 
'Sparks, Works of Washington, VIII 176. 

40 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the Illinois country; that dictated the policy of refusing to receive 
an American envoy; and that directed the mission of Rayneval to. 
England in a futile attempt to enclose the United States between 
the Atlantic and the Appalachians. 1 When, despite these efforts, 
covertly aided by Vergennes, the American commissioners cleverly 
succeeded in making favorable terms with England, the Spanish 
minister, Count d'Aranda, could but sadly utter his notable 
prophecy, "This federal republic is born a pigmy. A day will 
come when it will be a giant, even a colossus, formidable in these 
countries." 2 

The marked friendliness of France for Spain was in keeping 
with its general policy to obtain Louisiana and to make that prov- 
ince as valuable as possible. That France did not succeed in 1783 
in gaining actual possession of the coveted territory was due to her 
financial weakness. 3 This financial inability, however, did not in- 
terfere with the preparation of memoirs reciting the advantages 
that Louisiana would bring to France. One of these, written about 
1787 and designed for De Moustier, the French minister to the 
United States, came into possession of the Canadian authorities. 4 
In one of his most important dispatches De Moustier likewise 
showed his own interest in the subject, and in such a way as to 
justify Jefferson's suspicions of 'his motives and of those of his 
government. 5 

The position of the West towards Louisiana, particularly with 
regard to the navigation of the Mississippi, early became impor- 
tant. Spain appealed to this sentiment through Wilkinson and 
other leaders of the famous conspiracy of 1788, in an endeavor to 
detach that section from the Union. On the other hand, the Can- 
adian authorities later attempted to make use of this feeling to 
organize an attack upon Louisiana with the aid of Kentucky volun- 

1 For a review of the attitude of Spain and France towards the U. S., 
cf. Foster, Century of American Diplomacy, Chapter II; Ogg, Opening of 
the Mississippi, Chapter VIII; Turner, in American Historical Review, 
X, 249-255 ; McLaughlin, The Confederation and the Constitution, Chap. II. 

"Quoted in Ogg, 399. 

*0gg, Opening of the Mississippi, 462 ; American Historical Review, X 

4 Report on Canadian Archives, 1890, 108-119. 

^American Historical Review, X 257, note 3. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 41 

teers. 1 This latter movement was frustrated, partly through the 
opposition fo Wilkinson, but more largely through western prej- 
udice against England. In his letters to the Spanish governor, 
however, Wilkinson made use of this visit of the British emissary 
to threaten an invasion of Louisiana and New Mexico by a com- 
bined force of British and frontiersmen, unless the latter were well 
treated by the Spanish authorities in the matter of navigating the 
Mississippi. There is a suggestion of possible separation from the 
Union in this threat. The scheme of the Spanish representative, 
Gardoqui, in connection with a New Jersey trader, George Morgan, 
to establish an elaborate colony on the west bank of the Mississippi 
in order to restrain American migration, likewise resulted in fail- 
ure. 2 Yet Morgan was not the only American willing to lend him- 
self to the schemes of Spain. George Eogers Clark, despairing of 
adequate recognition of his really meritorious services by the Amer- 
ican government or by the State of Virginia, offered to further the 
aims of Spain in return for a land grant. 3 The general temper 
of the West towards Spain was, however, that reported by Brissot, 4 
a feeling of intense resentment, ready to express itself in actual 
hostilities. The Frenchman believed that if the Americans once 
began the march to New Orleans, that city and the whole con- 
tiguous country would fall into their hands. 

The position of Great Britain towards Louisiana as well as the 
Floridas was clearly defined in the so-called Nootka Sound Epi- 
sode. 5 This position was determined not merely by the capture 
of certain English vessels on the Pacific coast, but also by the 
agitation of the Spanish-American revolutionist Francisco de Mi- 
randa. His Grand Plan, in which Pitt for a time displayed inter- 
est, contemplated the bestowal of constitutional rights upon all 
Spanish America west of the Mississippi and south of the forty- 

1 0gg, Opening of the Mississippi, 443 ; Green, The Spanish Conspiracy, 
250-253, 292-317. In view of the later plans of Wilkinson, this early 
coupling of New Mexico with a projected Louisiana invasion is signifi- 
cant. Cf. Cox, "The Early Exploration of Louisiana," 91, University of 
Cincinnati Studies, Series, II, Vol. II, No. 1. 

*IUd., 449, note 2; Green, 294. 

3 Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, I, 932. 

^American Historical Review, V 257, 258. 

5 A monograph upon the subject by William Ray Manning is published 
in Report of the American Historical Association, 1904- 

42 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

fifth parallel. 1 Under Miranda's influence military preparations 
were making in England, with New Orleans an immediate ob- 
jective point, but with a view to the ultimate conquest of Merico 
and South America. Before the end of the year 1790, however, 
Pitt received a memoir demonstrating the impracticability of 
marching troops from New Orleans to Mexico. 2 Other reports 3 
pointed out the greater desirability of possessing merely New Or- 
leans and the Floridas (Pitt's "Southern Farms") and of utilizing 
western volunteers for this purpose. Later the trader and ad- 
venturer W. A. Bowles proposed 4 to use the Cherokees and Creeks, 
with some Tennessee recruits, in conquering the Foridas and south- 
ern Louisiana. If then threatened by Spanish forces from Havana, 
he proposed to draw these off by a feint upon Mexico, which from 
personal knowledge 'he represented as accessible and ready to re- 
volt upon the first approach of an invader. 

These various memoirs seem to indicate that although the Brit- 
ish government was somewhat influenced by Miranda's comprehen- 
sive sceheme, it merely intended to take advantage of the probable 
hostilities to seize the Floridas and New Orleans, and possibly the 
greater part of Louisiana, and then make use of its position to 
bring Mexico into a condition of partial dependence. Probably 
a certain amount of the territory whose seizure was contemplated 
would be returned to Spain upon the latter's yielding more ex- 
tensive commercial privileges in her remaining colonies. It is 
hardly likely that Pitt or those associated with him placed much 
confidence in Miranda's elaborate plan for revolutionizing all Span- 
ish America, or that they were willing to embark in a mere quixotic 
scheme for bearing independence to Spain's oppressed colonists. 
The English leaders simply intended to utilize the practical part 
of Miranda's plan, especially from a commercial standpoint. But 
whatever their motives, the opportunity to realize them passed 
away when Spain accepted England's terms in the Nootka Sound 

While the prospect of hostile operations was still threatening, 

1 American Historical Review, VII 711, note 4. 
'/bid., VII 716. 

'Particularly those of the British agent signing himself "R. D." Ameri- 
can Historical Review, VII 718, 724, 725. 
'American Historical Review, VII 728-33. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 43 

Lord Dorchester, the governor-general of Canada, sent a special 
agent named Beckwith to ascertain the position of the American 
authorities towards Great Britain and to learn what inducements 
were necessary to enlist the United States on her side. 1 His mis- 
sion afforded an opportunity for public leaders of the period to 
express their opinions regarding Louisiana; and this fact, rather 
than the position of Great Britain, constitutes the most important 
feature of the whole controversy. 

In his interviews with Beckwith, Hamilton expressed himself as 
opposed to British possession of New Orleans. In case of actual 
hostilities that point should pass under American control ; but with 
this proviso, he apparently was inclined to favor the cause of Great 
Britain against Spain. 2 In contrast with his opinion may be men- 
tioned that of Scott, a member of the House of Representatives 
from Pennsylvania, who believed it would be to the advantage of 
the United States for Great Britain to possess New Orleans, and 
even to gain it by American aid. Then the city could be used as a 
point of advantage in the possible dismemberment of Spanish 
America. 3 

The opinion of Jefferson with regard to England and Spain was 
typical in that he attempted to square himself with both nations, 
although he expressed the greater hostility towards the former. 
Early in July he prepared a paper 4 upon the subject, in which, he 
mentioned the danger from English control of New Orleans, and 
favored a joint guarantee by Spain and the United States of the in- 
dependence of the threatened territory. Notwithstanding this, he 
later wrote Monroe, 5 that either "war or indissoluble confederacy" 
with England was necessary, and in the latter event he hoped that 
Great Britain would content herself with Louisiana, and allow the 
United States to retain New Orleans and the Floridas. This 
view suggests his later position regarding France at the mouth of 
the Mississippi. 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 415, 416. 

2 American Historical Review, VII 709; Report of the American Histori- 
cal Association., 1904, 416. 

3 Ibid., VII 716, note 1; Report of the American Historical Association, 
1904, 416. 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 415. 

*American Historical Review, VII 710; Report of the American His- 
torical Association, 1904, 418. 

44 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Yet Jefferson felt strongly opposed to Great Britain as a neigh- 
bor in Louisiana, even under the most favorable conditions, and 
this feeling appears in his instructions to Gouverneur Morris, 1 then 
in London. He was to inform the British ministry that the United 
States could not regard with indifference their acquisition of neigh- 
boring territory. He instructed Carmichael 2 at Madrid to repre- 
sent to the Spanish government the desirability of a cession of New 
Orleans and the Floridas to the United States, in return for a 
guaranty of Spanish possessions upon the west bank of the Missis- 
sippi. This suggestion reached Carmichael too late for effective 
use, but it was in keeping with the later policy of Jefferson just 
before the Louisiana purchase. 

As a question of policy the possible march of British troops 
across our territory from Detroit to St. Louis gave Washington and 
his cabinet some concern, 3 but added nothing to their views respect- 
ing Louisiana. Early in the next year the British consul at Phila- 
delphia suggested to his home government the advisability of con- 
sidering the mouth of the Ohio as a point for collecting a force 
to be conveyed against the Spanish settlements on the lower Misis- 
sippi. This movement could hardly be undertaken without the 
concurrence of the United States and upon a basis or reciprocal 
advantages, but he believed that the cooperation of the western 
settlers might be secured in any movement that promised to open 
the Mississippi. 4 Fortunately for the future peaceful growth of 
the United States, the threatening war clouds were already dissi- 
pated and Spain remained in undisturbed possession of Louisiana. 
It was the temper of the West, uncertain in its allegiance to ex- 
ternal sovereignty, but with its whole economic development cen- 
tered in the free navigation of the Mississippi, that proved such an 
element of danger during the first critical decade of the new na- 
tional government. In August, 1790, Jefferson wrote Carmichael 5 
that it was impossible to answer for the further forebearance of our 
western citizens. At that very time the Yazoo Land Company of 
South Carolina, through Dr. James O'Fallon, was offering to locate 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 420, 421. 

'Ibid., 1904, 421, 422. 

8 /6td., 1904, 418-420. 

'Ibid., 1897, 471. 

"American State Papers, Foreign Relations, I 247. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 45 

a colony on the site of rrodern Vicksburg. 1 The agent attempted 
to allay the fears of Governor Miro by representing the colony as 
a migration from the United States of disaffected western ele- 
ments, with the design of effecting an alliance with adjoining 
Spanish colonies and of serving as a rampart to protect them 
against similar future invasions. It was rumored that George 
Eogers Clark was to command the battalion O'Fallon was organiz- 
ing. Spanish opposition and the proclamation of Washington 
against occupying Indian lands served to break up this particular 
movement, but not the design of its leaders to expatriate them- 
selves, if that were necessary to gain the freedom of the Missis- 

In the midst of the crisis threatening from the Nootka Sound 
affair Jefferson had attempted to gain the aid of France in secur- 
ing New Orleans, or at least a port near the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi. 2 France, however, had plans of her own, and while Spain 
was threatened by England, offered to form a new alliance in lieu 
of the former family compact. 3 The new tie was to be strength- 
ened by the retrocession of Louisiana. Spain preferred peace with 
England rather than alliance with revolutionary France, especially 
upon such terms. The latter power, then, must employ some other 
method to gain the coveted Louisiana. 

With the adoption of the Girondist revolutionary propaganda 
of 1792, France opened the second period of Louisiana intrigue 
with some prospect of realizing her dream of colonial dominion. 
Under the dominating influence of Brissot de Warville, the former 
American traveler who had correctly interpreted the situation in 
the Mississippi Valley, the attention of the French leaders was 
largely directed to the Spanish colonies upon this continent. To 
strengthen this tendency, the tireless Miranda soon spread before- 
Lebrun, the minister of foreign affairs, and his associates, his 
scheme of widespread Spanish- American revolution, now to be 
undertaken under French auspices. Wiser measures, however, soon 
moderated this spirit of universal revolutionary propaganda. The 
projected attack upon all Spanish America was regarded as too- 
chimerical, for although the country would not forever remain. 

^American Historical Review, III 652, 653. 
-Ibid., X 258. 
3 Ibid., X 258, 259. 

46 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

under Spanish domination, it was not then the duty of France 
to liberate it. An attempt to revolutionize and take possession 
of Louisiana alone, offered a prospect of immediate success and a 
safe point of departure for future incursions into Mexico and 
neighboring Spanish territory. 1 

To influence the Brissot faction in behalf of revolutionizing 
Louisiana, there appeared in Paris in 1792 and early in the fol- 
lowing year, a series of memoirs describing that province and its 
population, and its possible future relations both to France and the 
United States. Prominent among these papers was a proposal by 
George Kogers Clark, 2 doubly resentful because of the rejection by 
the State of Virginia of his last application in behalf of his just 
claims. He represented the spirit of the West as aroused to fury 
against Spain because of the closure of the Mississippi, and 
scarcely less hostile towards the Union because of fancied indiffer- 
ence or actual neglect. Clark's proposal was backed by his son- 
in-law, James O'Fallon, through whose instrumentality it reached 
Thomas Paine at Paris. The latter was then a recently naturalized 
French citizen, enjoying the confidence of Brissot, Lebrun, and 
others of their associates. With these the offer of Clark, in view 
of his former reputation and supposed popularity, was evidently of 
weight in strengthening their determination to confine their pres- 
ent effort to Louisiana. 

Both before and after Clark many others 3 presented papers of 
similar tenor. Among these authors we may mention Gilbert Im- 
lay, Revolutionary soldier, traveler, and writer; Stephen Sayre, a 
Princeton graduate who successively became banker and sheriff in 
London, and, after his failure in that city, an attache of Franklin 
and of Arthur Lee; Pierre Lyonnet, a French Creole, formerly a 
resident of New Orleans; Beaupoils, a French officer who had for- 
merly served in Poland ; and Joel Barlow, American poet and diplo- 
mat, who, like Paine, had recently become a French citizen. 

Most of these proposals have in view the immediate revolution- 
izing of Louisiana alone, although Sayre and Beaupoils 4 include 

^American Historical Review, III 653-656; Report of the American His- 
torical Association, 1896, I, 945-946 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, II, 199, note. 
"For these plans, cf. American Historical Review, HI, 491-510; 659, 660. 
'Ibid., Ill 661, 662. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 47 

the more extensive plan of Miranda. All of them anticipate ready 
aid from the American and French settlers along the Ohio, Ten- 
nessee, and Cumberland, as well as from the Creole population of 
Louisiana. As leader of these volunteers they suggest such oppo- 
site characters as Clark and Wilkinson. The memorialists point 
out the commercial advantages to the French West Indies of Louis- 
iana freed from Spanish control, whatever the final disposition of 
its territory. One leaves this question open, another is opposed to 
its possession by the United States, while the French Creole would 
bestow it upon that power in return for certain commercial advan- 
tages for France. They prefer to work out their purpose without 
openly involving the United States, although they know the im- 
portance that that republic attaches to the free navigation of the 
Mississippi, and wish to employ that factor in drawing- the western 
settlers into their scheme. One anonymous writer refers to this 
same motive to bring about a separation of the West from the East 
and its ultimate incorporation with Louisiana. The later proposal 
of Barlow and Leavenworth 1 is in the nature of an offer to liberate 
Louisiana at their own expense, and to use it as an example for all 
Spanish America. They were to pay themselves and followers 
from the public lands and property, and, in case of a retrocession 
of the province to Spain, to receive back their financial outlay. 

Doubtless Genet's instructions and his own later actions were 
greatly influenced by these proposals, most of which must have 
been known before he left France. Four of the memorialists were 
suggested as a committee to act under Genefs direction in organiz- 
ing the western volunteers and in fomenting the Louisiana revolu- 
tion. Later they were to extend their propaganda to all Spanish 
America, but to omit for the present this greater task. 2 These 
emissaries were to pass to the Ohio ostensibly in search for suit- 
able land for a colony, and to assemble their volunteers under the 
pretext of a campaign against the Indians. These precautions 
would serve to avoid compromising the United States, and whether 
that power should ultimately control Louisiana, time and its peo- 
ple should decide. 

Genet's high-handed course toward the American government 

American Historical Review, III 508-510. 

2 Ibid., Ill 495-496; 662, 663; Report of the American Historical Asso- 
ciation, 1S96, 945ff. 

48 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

soon made necessary a policy of intrigue, in order to put into opera- 
tion the proposed expedition against Louisiana. In keeping with 
his policy was an offer from Clark, 1 penned in February, 1793, 
to take Louisiana with 1,500 men, and with additional assistance, 
Pensacola and Santa Fe. With the approaches to the latter Clark 
claimed to be perfectly familiar. 2 In addition, the botanist Andre 
Michaux, already contemplating an exploration of the Missouri un- 
der Jefferson's guidance, 3 was ready to turn from the uncertain 
field of exploration to what appeared to be the more sure conquest 
of Louisiana, He was immediately employed as Genet's agent to 
his proposed Kentucky coadjutors, among whom must now be reck- 
oned Congressman John Brown and the merchant Charles De 
Pauw. 4 The personal testimony of these men established the facts 
already surmised that the population of Louisiana was on the 
verge of rebellion, the Spanish defenses of the Mississippi lament- 
ably weak, while the Ohio Valley settlers were eager to take ad- 
vantage of these circumstances. 

With this combination of affairs playing directly into Genef s 
hands and threatening to counterbalance the reserved opposition 
of Washington, it is important to consider the position of the lat- 
ter's Secretary of State. As early as February 20, 1793, through 
Col. W. S. Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams, Jefferson may 
have known of the earlier plans of the Brissot ministry regarding 
Spanish America. 5 From Smith he seemed to gain the idea that 
the French would not object to our incorporating the Floridas. A 
month later this led him, with Washington's approval, to direct 
Carmichael at Madrid not to guarantee the Spanish colonies west 
of the Mississippi, in return for the Floridas, as we might receive 
them from France, and in that event must be free to accept.* 

In July Genet partially informed Jefferson of his plan. The 
Secretary protested that American citizens would engage in the 

^American Historical Review, III 665; Report of the American Histori- 
cal Association, 1896, 969. 

2 This claim suggests the possibility that Clark may have obtained in- 
formation from Nolan, who was a resident of Kentucky and occasionally 
conveyed his droves of Texas horses thither. 

"Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I , In- 

'Americal Historical Review, II 666-668. 

'/bid., Ill 655. 

"Ford, Writings of Jefferson, VI 206. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 49 

undertaking with halters about their necks, but he later claimed 
to infer from Genet's explanation that the rendezvous would be 
outside the limits of the United States. At any rate he gave Mi- 
chaux, Genet's agent, what the French minister regarded as a 
satisfactory letter of introduction to Governor Shelby of Ken- 
tucky, 1 although the letter designedly antedates the last interview 
of the two principals. 

Notwithstanding careful planning abroad 'and shrewd intrigue 
in the United States, Genet's Louisiana expedition lacked the 
necessary financial element because of Washington's refusal to pre- 
pay any portion of the French debt. Few influential men of 
nieana in Kentucky favored the scheme, although many joined the 
democratic societies organized by Michaux, La Chaise, and other 
French agents. 2 Clark may have been measurably justified in his 
claim that many were ready to follow his lead. There was certainly 
sentiment enough against Spain, but respect for the Washington 
administration was likewise increasing. The very rumor of Genet's 
and Clark's plans was enough to cause the Spanish governor, Car- 
ondelet, great uneasiness, and to lead him to deplore the miserable 
state of his defenses and the uncertain loyalty of his people. 3 But 
the uncertainties and fears of both American and Spanish author- 
ities were removed by the disavowal of Genet by his government, 
the arrival of his successor, Fauchet, and the proclamation by the 
latter, March 6, 1794, that all hostile preparations against Spanish 
dominions should cease. The invasion of Florida, Louisiana, or 
Mexico, from the Georgia frontier or the Ohio Valley became im- 
possible, and another interesting project in Louisiana history re- 
mained unrealized. 

That Genet's plan caused Governor Carondelet some uneasiness 
has already been mentioned. Late during the next year, in an- 
swer to a request for information concerning Louisiana, he ad- 
dressed to Godoy a long report, 4 during which he emphasized the 
serious dangers then threatening Spanish interests in his province. 

*Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, 933; American 
Historical Review, III 667-670. 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, 934; American 
Historical Review, III 511-515. 

"Carondelet to Alcfidia, 1793, Report of the American Historical Asso- 
ciation, 1896, 975. 

4 The report, edited by Prof. F. J. Turner, is published in the American 
Historical Review, II 475, ff. 

50 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Carondelet stated that the province extended above the fiftieth 
degree of north latitude and that Spain should protest against the 
Indian commerce carried on by the English and Americans between 
that line and the forty-fourth parallel. For the present, however, 
Spain should concentrate her efforts upon the country south of the 
St. Peters (Minnesota) so as to keep the Americans from pressing 
westward to the Missouri or beyond. This policy should be adopted 
at once, and ! as a first step he had already authorized the explora- 
tion of the Missouri 1 in order to determine if the report that it 
rose near the western ocean was true. In case it did, it would be 
doubly advisable to shield it from American aggression. 

Carondelet showed that at the time of the cession of the province 
by France it was almost valueless. Both the French and English 
as neighbors had been more interested in petty contraband trade 
than in important territorial acquisitions, but the case was far dif- 
ferent with the restless pioneer population then demanding the 
free navigation of the Mississippi. That privilege once granted, 
they could no longer be restricted to their side of the Mississippi, 
but would inevitably press on to seize the rich fur trade of the 
Missouri or the mines of the interior of Mexico. After mentioning 
the rapid growth of the American settlements and the danger to 
Spain's population from their proximity, he proposed a definite 
plan for the defense of his province, in accordance with which he 
later reported an expenditure of nearly $300,000. 2 He likewise 
attempted, but without success, to revive among the Kentucky 
conspirators of 1788 the prospect of separating Kentucky from 
the Union. 3 


By the close of 1794 experience had shown that diplomatic in- 
trigues in London or Paris, although aided by Canadian officials 
and by Creole or American adventurers, were powerless to revolu- 

J The expedition under James Mackay. See map accompanying Perrin 
Du Lac's Voyage dans les Deux Louisianes. Paris, 1805. The Mis- 
souri Historical Society possesses some transcripts of the documents in 
the Spanish archives relating to the explorations of Mackay, but I have 
been unable to make use of them in preparing this article. 

^American Historical Review, III 514, note 3. 

"Green, The Spanish Conspiracy, 324. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 51 

tionize Louisiana without the open or tacit consent of the new 
American government and the earnest support of its western set- 
tlers. Hitherto the former factor had been lacking and the evi- 
dent good will of the latter was ineffectual because unorganized. 
It was to this fact rather than to expenditures for fortifications 
that Governor Carondelet owed his escape from invasion by Giron- 
dist propagandists and their American sympathizers. Yet during 
this very period there was beginning another movement that repre- 
sented the strength of the western element per se, uninfluenced 
by any motive of foreign or domestic policy, except the ever-pres- 
ent Anglo-American hunger for land, and the natural desire to 
lead in the search for new and easily-obtained pastures. The 
rank and file of this movement were seen in the American hunt- 
ers, horse-traders, ranchmen, and general men of affairs who 
streamed into Louisiana both 'before and after the administration 
of Carondelet. The self-appointed leader appeared in the person 
of James Wilkinson, the Spanish pensioner, afterwards promoted 
to the command of the American army. The most typical repre- 
sentative of this pioneer crusade, however, is his agent, the horse- 
trader, explorer, and filibuster Philip Nolan. 

"Philip Nolan had been engaged in trade between San Antonio 
and Natchez since the year 1785." So states the Texas historian, 
Yoakum, 1 but he gives no authority for the date. In 1789, when 
General James Wilkinson returned from his second journey to 
New Orleans, Nolan accompanied him as a confidential agent. 2 
In a letter written several years later Nolan styles the General "the 
friend and protector of my youth"; 3 and in another, written in 
1791, he writes, "/ am wholly yours, until I do the business of the 
season, and then I shall visit San Antonio." 4 The unaffected lan- 
guage of the writer serves to reveal him as a true product of exist- 
ing border conditions in the Mississippi Valley. Underhand rela- 
tions with prominent Americans and Spaniards temporarily gained 
him the confidence of the latter, which he utilized to advance his 
private fortune by means of illicit trading. 

^History of Texas, I 111. 

"Clark, Proofs of the Corruption of General James Wilkinson, 15, App. 

'Nolan to Wilkinson, June 10, 1796, in Wilkinson, Memoirs of My Own 
Times, ll, App. II. 

'Nolan to Wilkinson, April, 6, 1791. lUd. 

52 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

On the expedition hinted at in his letter of April 6, 1791, Nolan 
does not seem to have met with his customary degree of success. 
In a later letter to Wilkinson 1 he wrote that he had been "ungen- 
erously suspected for a spy by the Mexicans, and even by your 
old friend Gayoso." 2 The papers furnished him by Governor 
Miro evidently secured him from imprisonment but not from des- 
poliation, for he was "cheated out of all his goods." This treat- 
ment caused him to wander among the Indians for some two years, 
after which he returned among the Spaniards, conducting two 
minor ventures. In this way he partially succeeded in recouping 
his loss. But his experience rendered him doubly cautious, so he 
forbore to communicate with Wilkinson until his return to Ken- 
tucky in 1796 gave him an opportunity to do so without danger. 
"A letter from a trader in horses," he wrote, "to a General of 
the federal armies, would have confirmed suspicions that were 
nearly fatal to me." 

By the next year Nolan's fortunes promised to mend when, 
early in February, he presented to Gayoso at Natchez the follow- 
ing letter from Wilkinson: 3 

"This will be delivered to you by Nolan, who you know, is a 
child of my own raising, true to his profession, and firm in his 
attachments to Spain. I consider him a powerful instrument in 
our hand should occasion offer. I will answer for his conduct. I 
am deeply interested in whatever concerns him, and I confidently 
recommend him to your warmest protection." 

This letter coupled with some shrewd diplomatic work in the 
quarrel between Gayoso and Andrew Ellicott, the American boun- 
dary commissioner, then at Natchez, evidently won for Nolan the 
favor of the Spaniards, for he wrote Wilkinson : 4 

"I have got such a passport, that I apprehend neither risk nor 
detention: I have instruments to enable me to make a more cor- 
rect map than the one you saw : Ellicott assisted me in acquiring 
a more perfect knowledge of astronomy and glasses; and Gayoso 
himself has made me a present of a portable sextant. My time- 

Mune 10, 1796. Ibid. 

2 At this time serving as Spanish governor of the Natchez district. 

"Yoakum, History of Texas, I 113; Clark, Proofs, 42. 

*Nolan to Wilkinson, New Orleans, April 24, 1797, in Wilkinson, 
Memoirs, II, App. II. For Ellicott's reports, cf. American State Papers, 
Foreign Relations, II 20-27; 78-87. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 53 

piece is good. I shall pay every attention, and take an assistant 
with me, who is a tolerable mathematician. ... I 
will write to you again from Natchez by land. Minor's brother 
sets out next month. I shall take ten good riflemen with me to 
St. Antonio. The Indian Camanches and Appaches are at war 
with the Spaniards, and I calculate on a little fight." 

This letter of Nolan's is of double interest in view of a statement 
of Wilkinson's, 1 in 1806, "that I have been reconnoitering and 
exploring the route [i. e. to Santa Fe] for more than sixteen years ; 
that I know not only the way, but all the difficulties and how to 
surmount them." The close relations between the general and his 
protege, and the mention by the latter of maps and sextants, 
strengthen the suspicion that something more than horse-trading 
was to characterize Nolan's new venture into Texas. Yet at a 
later period Ellicott wrote of Nolan: 2 

"I do not recollect to have ever received a hint, that the late Mr. 
P. Nolan was concerned in any plans or intrigues injurious to the 
United States. On the contrary, in all our private and confidential 
conversations, he appeared strongly attached to the interest and 
welfare of our country." 

At this period Ellicott had evidence deeply incriminating Wil- 
kinson's loyalty to the Union, so his testimony may be indicative 
either of the fact that Nolan, for whom he professed great friend- 
ship, 3 was not cognizant of his principal's entire duplicity, or that 
lie was especially adroit in concealing his true relation to Wilkin- 
son. The latter supposition is the more likely. At this time the 
Baron de Carondelet, writing to Thomas Power, another of Wilkin- 
son's agents, praises Nolan as "a charming young man whom I re- 
gard very highly," and proposes to use him as a means of confiden- 
tial communication to the general. 4 Power likewise mentions 
Nolan in a letter to Carondelet, 5 while the claim is later made that 

, The Aaron Burr Conspiracy, 128. While Humboldt in Wash- 
ington, during the summer of 1804, Wilkinson through Jefferson, at- 
tempted to obtain from the famous traveler information concerning the 
Internal Provinces and routes to Santa F6 and Mexico City. Cf. Cox, 
"Early Exploration of Louisiana," 91; also Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol. 
85, No. 78. 

"Clark, Proofs, 69. 

'Nolan to Wilkinson, July 21, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs, II, App. II. 

'Clark, Proofs, 59. 

'Ibid., App. 74. 

54 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

instructions from Wilkinson to Power are in Nolan's handwriting. 1 
One is apparently justified, then, in the supposition that Nolan 
knew more of Wilkinson's purposes than he chose to reveal to 

Although Wilkinson and his agents were working with the Louis- 
iana authorities in schemes detrimental to the United States, the 
principal did not hesitate to use his advantage to gain knowledge 
that might in the future be used against the Spanish possessions. 
This may have been the side of Nolan's mission which he empha- 
sized to Ellicott, and by means of which he gained the fast friend- 
ship of the latter. Nolan's motives and those of his principal, so 
far as Spanish territory is concerned, appear in his conversation 
with Samuel P. Moore, as reported by the latter in 1810. 2 Nolan 
offered Moore a share in the privilege he had obtained from Caron- 
delet, of trading in horses with the province of Texas. In addition 
to the permission from the Governor, Nolan said that he bore let- 
ters of recommendation from New Orleans priests to those in 
Texas. These letters had been obtained through Wilkinson's in- 
fluence, and Oarondelet expected Nolan to furnish him with plans 
and information concerning the country explored. "But," said 
Nolan, "I shall take care to give him no information, unless such 
as may be calculated to mislead him. Whatever discoveries I can 
make shall be carefully preserved for General Wilkinson, for the 
benefit of our government." Nolan also spoke of his own influence 
among the Indians, of the prospect of the conquest of Mexico by 
the United States, and of his hope of a "conspicuous command" 
in that movement, through the influence of- his patron. 

In one respect Nolan's plans did not promise the entire success 
that he had hoped. Difficulties between Gayoso and Ellicott 
threatened to become serious during May, 1797, and the prospect 
of war caused him to defer his departure. At this time Gayoso 
showed that the letters of Wilkinson had not wholly secured his 
agent. Gayoso did, indeed, shower many attentions upon Nolan 
and even presented him with a sextant, but he wrote Carondelet 
not to permit the American to leave New Orleans. "He will take 
an active part against us; he is popular and enterprising; secure 

Vbid., App. 71. 

z Wilkinson, Memoirs, App. III. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 55 

him." In this same letter he represented himself as Nolan's friend, 
so it is no wonder that that individual regarded him as "a vile man, 
and my implacable enemy." 

The Baron de Carondelet had, however, in July, 1797, provided 
Nolan with strong credentials stating his importance to the royal 
service, and in addition took measures to secure him from any 
consequences of Gayoso's enmity. His influence could not extend 
beyond his term of office, and Gayoso had already been appointed 
to the governorship of Louisiana an event full of significance for 
Nolan's future career. Matters had become more pacific around 
Natchez, so the latter wrote Wilkinson; and he determined, despite 
the uncertain tone of the last presidential speech, to set out on the 
following day. Twelve persons constituted his company, and he 
carried some seven thousand dollars' worth of merchandise. 1 Pro- 
ceeding to San Antonio, he sent a request to Captain General 
Pedro de Nava at Chihuahua for permission to buy -horses. Re- 
ceiving a favorable response he conveyed some thirteen hundred 
back to Louisiana and beyond, arriving at the Mississippi early in 
1799. 2 

It was while absent upon this excursion that Nolan gained a new 
friend, more influential even than his patron, the general. Upon 
recommendation of Senator Brown of Kentucky, in possible con- 
junction with an earlier hint from Wilkinson, 3 Jefferson, then vice- 
president-elect directed to Nolan a letter asking for information 
concerning the wild horses to be found west of the Mississippi. 4 

J Nolan to Wilkinson, July 21, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs II, App. II. 

2 Garrison, Texas, 112; THE QUARTERLY, VII 311, 312. 

3 THE QUARTERLY, VII 314; Jefferson's motives in interesting himself in 
Nolan's work, while uncertain, are strongly suspicious. In the letter re- 
ferred to above, Wilkinson writes: "In the Bearer of this Letter Mr. P. 
Nolan, you will behold the Mexican traveler, a specimen of whose discov- 
eries I had the honor to submit to you in the Winter 1797." Early in 
this same year, 1797, according .to the testimony of John D. Chisholm 
(American Historical Review, X 602), the latter on one occasion, while 
visiting Senator Blount, of Tenessee, found at table with him Jefferson 
and Wilkinson. Chisholm believed that Blount expected him to disclose 
to his visitors the plan for the conquest of Louisiana, the Floridas, and 
New Mexico, but evaded doing so. A conference between these three 
men, during the incubation of the so-called Blount conspiracy, is highly 
significant, especially in view of Wilkinson's desire for the conquest of 
New Mexico one of the objective points of the conspiracy. In view of 
this fact, and of the above quotation from Wilkinson's letter, we are led 
to believe that Jefferson's interest in Nolan extended farther than to the 
latter's description of the wild horses of Texas. 


56 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

The information was to be presented to the Philosophical Society 
of Philadelphia, of which body Jefferson was then serving as pres- 
ident. This society was the most important scientific organization 
in America, and the gathering of interesting and curious data was 
a very important branch of its work. Jefferson certainly could 
have appealed to no one better qualified to supply the information 
he sought. Wild horses, then, probably constituted one of the sub- 
jects which afford evidence of the many-sided genius of Jefferson. 
We may surmise, however, that in the succeeding interview the 
statesman 'acquired from the horse-trader information other than 
that he openly requested, but his preserved correspondence does not 
show it. 

Jefferson's letter to Nolan fell into the hands of Daniel Clark 
of New Orleans, who had charge of the trader's correspondence. 
Clark immediately informed Jefferson 1 of Nolan's whereabouts 
and of his expected return early in the spring, when the trader 
would take pleasure in complying with his request. 

Meanwhile Clark directed him to Andrew Ellicott, then stop- 
ping at his house in New Orleans, who could from previous ac- 
quaintance with Nolan give the vice-president much interesting 
information upon the subject in question. Clark, however, warned 
Jefferson to keep to himself any information of the sort, for the 
present publication would disclose its source, with fatal conse- 
quences to a man "who will at all times have it in his Power to 
render important Services to the U. S., and whom Nature seems 
to have formed for Enterprizes of which the rest of Mankind are 
incapable." Nolan's papers, Clark continued, were confided to 
himself and a friend in Spanish service, and if anything should 
happen to "this extraordinary Character" they should be exam- 
ined and everything relating to "that Country" forwarded to Jef- 
ferson. Clark closed his missive by calling to Jefferson's atten- 
tion "Mr. William Dunbar a citizen of Natchez," who "for Science, 
Probity, and general information is the first Character in this part 
of the World." 

Clark's mention of Dunbar proved the beginning of a most in- 
teresting correspondence, shortly to be turned into the channel 
of Louisiana exploration. In his next letter 2 Clark mentioned the 

ir THE QUARTERLY, VII 309-311. 
2 Ibid., VII 311-312. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 57 

arrival of Nolan while he was visiting at Dunbar's. Nolan had un- 
consciously escaped a grave danger. Before Gayoso's death that 
official had written the governor of Texas, advising the arrest of 
Nolan as a person who from his knowledge of the interior of Mex- 
ico "might one day be of injury to the Spanish Monarchy." Fortu- 
nately for Nolan the governor of Texas died shortly before the 
letter arrived, and the officer temporarily in charge forbore to open 
the correspondence, pending the arrival of the regular appointee. 
Nolan was thus treated with the utmost deference, and never 
learned of his peril until informed by Clark upon his return to 

Clark added that the 'hostile attitude of the Spaniards now re- 
moved the necessity for secrecy on Nolan's part, and that the latter 
was ready to communicate to Jefferson the information he desired. 
Indeed Clark wrote that he had "proposed to Nolan to send him 
on to the IT. S. that you might have an opportunity of learning 
from him many curious particulars respecting his Country." It 
will be noted that this offier of information covered a wider field 
than that merely concerning wild horses. Furthermore, Clark was 
so anxious in regard to the matter that he offered to pay all of 
Nolan's expenses and to compensate him for his time rather ex- 
traordinary efforts simply to obtain some curious scientific infor- 
mation of certain equine species. Taken in connection with the 
opinion expressed by Ellicott 1 that it was the general belief of the 
inhabitants of New Orleans that their country would shortly be an- 
nexed to the United States, the letters of Clark seem to indicate 
a desire on the part of the American contingent to aid this move- 
ment and to make it as extensive as possible. Wilkinson, at Fort 
Adams, on the 22nd of the following May added the finishing 
touches to the scheme by giving Nolan a letter 2 of introduction 
to Jefferson. In this letter he states that he had previously men- 
tioned Nolan's discoveries, and spoke of Nolan's detailed knowl- 
edge and high character, which led him highly to recommend the 
trader to Jefferson. After such an introduction one would relish 
the details of the succeeding interview between the horse-trader 

Ellicott to Secretary of State, January 13, 1799, in Ellicott, Southern 
Boundary, MSS., Bureau of Rolls and Library, Department of State. 

58 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

of Louisiana and the future president whose administration was to 
be marked by the acquisition of that province. 

Gaydso's letters to de Nava had suggested the advisability of 
arresting all foreigners in order to prevent Americans from form- 
ing intimate relations with the Indians, and especially singled out 
Nolan as a "dangerous man and a sacreligious hypocrite who had 
deceived the previous governor to get a passport." 1 Nolan's almost 
miraculous escape on his preceding journey should have rendered 
him cautious about venturing again into Texas, especially in view 
of de Nava's probable orders to arrest him, should he attempt to do 
so. Nevertheless his interview with Jefferson seems to have deter- 
mined him to penetrate again into the forbidden country, for whose 
officials his previous experiences may have given him a hearty con- 
tempt. In this expedition he seems to have planned deliberately 
to arouse the hospitality of both Spaniards and Indians, for his 
party numbered twenty-one too many for a peaceful excursion, 
though not enough for defense against an aroused antagonist. The 
result, as might be readily foreseen, is expressed in a later letter 
from Dunbar, 2 who at the same time aptly describes the adventur- 
er's character : 

"But lately we have been cut off from our usual communication 
with that Country by the imprudence of Mr. Nolan who persisted 
in hunting wild horses without a regular permission; the conse- 
quence of which has been, that a party being sent against him, he 
was the only man of his company who was killed by a random 
shot. I am much concerned for the loss of this man. Altho his 
eccentricities were many and great, yet he was not destitute of 
romantic principles of honor united to the highest personal cour- 
age, with energy ,of mind not sufficiently cultivated by education, 
but which under the guidance of a little more prudence might 
have conducted him to enterprises of the first magnitude." 

It was in October, 1800, after his return from Philadelphia, that 
Nolan set out on what was to prove his final excursion into Texas. 3 

Garrison, Texas, 113. 

"Dunbar to Jefferson, August 22, 1901, in THE QUARTERLY, VII 315. 

8 For the details of Nolan's last expedition, cf. Yoakum, History of 
Texas, I 111-116; Garrison, Texas, 111-116. The Memoirs of Ellis P. 
Bean ( properly P. E. Bean ) , one of his companions, are found in the 
Appendix of Yoakum, I 403-452; Cavo, Tres Siglos de Mexico. Appendix, 
660 (Jalapa, 1870). 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 59 

The Spanish consul at Natchez, Vidal, entered a complaint against 
him, but his passport was in regular form, and after a preliminary 
hearing he was discharged for want of jurisdiction. Vidal sent 
word to the Texas authorities, and likewise to the Spanish com- 
mandant at Fort Miro, who sent a force of fifty men to intercept 
Nolan; but the latter was not to be deterred from his course, and 
the Spaniard did not attempt to use force. Making a detour to 
avoid unnecessary trouble at the fort, the little company, now re- 
duced by desertions to eighteen, crossed the Red River, visited a vil- 
lage of Oaddo Indians, and finally pressed on to the Brazos. In the 
course of a few months they had collected several hundred head of 
horses and had visited the Comanche Indians on the Red River, as 
well as several other important tribee near the Brazos. Finally on 
the 21st of March, 1801, they were attacked by a force of a hun- 
dred Spaniards, and in the ensuing fight Nolan was killed, three 
others wounded, and eleven of the number captured. This fight 
probably took place near the site of the city of Waco, Texas. 

Three of those engaged in the fighting escaped, one died, and one 
was hanged by the Spaniards at Chihuahua, in 1807. When Pike 
visited this town early in that year, he met with a member of the 
party and from him learned of most the others. In their behalf 
he made an ineffectual appeal to the captain-general, Salcedo, and 
upon his return to the United States, published in the Natchez 
Herald an account of their condition. 1 Of their number P. E. 
Bean, popularly known as Ellis P. Bean, is the only one Who be- 
comes of importance in Southwestern history. 

From the correspondence already noted one is disposed to give 
a great deal of weight to the deposition of Mordecai Richards, one 
of the early deserters from Nolan's party. Richards stated that 
Nolan's plan was to build a fort near the Caddo Indians, explore 
the country for mines, gather horses, and then return to Kentucky. 
Here he expected to be joined by volunteers in a scheme for the 
conquest of Texas. 2 Probably one should substitute New Mexico 
for Texas, but with this change one is prepared to accept Rich- 
ards' statement as affording a tangible explanation for Nolan's er- 
ratic but adventurous career. 

H^oues, Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike, I, LII. 
'Garrison, Texas, 113. 

60 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

It is as the first in a long line of Southwestern filibusterers that 
Nolan merits this extended notice. His importance is likewise in- 
creased by the fact that with his adventurous exploits on the Texas- 
Louisiana frontier are linked the names of Wilkinson, Dunbar, 
Clark, 'and Jefferson all leading actors upon the stage afforded 
b}' the Louisiana Purchase. 

Nolan, the pioneer filibusterer, was typical of but one class of the 
frontier population pushing in from the United States. As early 
as 1791 Edward Murphy received a grant of land upon the Arroyo 
Hondo. 1 Seven years later Samuel Davenport took up his resi- 
dence within the Spanish jurisdiction of Nacogdoehes. In Novem- 
ber of this same year, 1798, Murphy conveyed his estate La Nana 
to a company of which he, Davenport, a Smith of New York, 
and William Barr of Pennsylvania were members. 2 The following 
year Murphy acquired additional land between the Arroyo Hondo 
and the Sabine, and his buildings upon this property were burned 
by the American troops in 1806. 8 These men were evidently as- 
sociated for the purpose of carrying on ranching in connection 
with horse-trading between Texas and Louisiana; and in 1801 
their privileges were extended to include trade with the friendly 
Indians to the north. Three years later Dr. John Sibley describes 
them as a company of "Indian traders who have all been citizens 
of the United States and some are now," whose activities were 
prejudicial to American interests. 4 The French traveler Eobin 
evidently refers to Murphy and his associates as the "English Com- 
pany called Morphil," which monopolized the fur trade of Natch- 
itoches, and whose goods penetrated as far as San Antonio. 5 

It was evidently the trade of this company that caused passing 
travelers to remark upon the brisk traffic between Nacogdoehes and 
Louisiana. 6 These traders evidently were secure in their monopoly 
because of their connection with a Spanish officer at Nacogdoches, 
but this very connection rendered them suspected by the Americans 
when Louisiana passed into the possession of the latter. By this 

1 House Document, No. 50, 19 Cong., 1 Sess., page 67. 
z 81. 

'Ibid., 68. 

'Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol. 76, No. 7. Cf. Salcedo to Governor of 
Texas, December 9, 1806, MSS. Bgxar Archives. 
"Robin, Voyages, II 123-125. 
'Diario of St. Maxent and Fortier, 1801, Historic/; LXII, Doc. LXIX. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 61 

time they also became- objects of suspicion to the Spanish officials 
in Texas/ but their close connection with the latter saved them 
from the fate of Nolan. 

That they were not the only Americans in this region before the 
transfer of Louisiana is shown by the presence of others, in 1803, 
on the Washita, on the Red, where one pioneer reports thirty years' 
residence, and even west of the Sabine on Ayish Bayou. In all of 
these districts they seemed already to occupy the best industrial 
situations. 2 The success of these early pioneers largely influ- 
enced Governor Carondelet to support the explorations of James 
Mackay along the Missouri and Platte, 3 in order to forestall the 
Americans in this region and to drive out the British. It may 
also have influenced Watkins, Sebastian, Bastrop. and their asso- 
ciates, in 1799 or 1800, in their proposal to obtain a grant of land 
along one of the rivers of upper Louisiana. 4 

The policy that permitted the irruption of an element generally 
regarded with apprehension was the mistaken one of hoping that 
the American pioneers might be used to develop a portion of the 
country as a bulwark against further encroachment of their coun- 
trymen. This was the gist of a report by Pontalba to Talleyrand, 5 
who believed that after one generation the country could be held 
permanently for France. By 1794 the Texas border authorities 
were warned to keep a sharp lookout for copies of El Desengano 
del H ombre (The Undeceiving of Man), a book condemned by the 
Inquisition. 6 In this same year Carondelet believed that a revo- 
lution was impending in all Spanish America, unless the Ameri- 
cans could be kept away from the Mississippi, and was setting on 
foot preparations to explore the upper waters of the Missouri and 
a possible route to the Pacific. 7 This latter measure resulted in 
Mackay's expedition. 

The danger threatening Spanish dominion was mentioned at 

'Valle to Elguezabal, February 1, 1805, Bexar Archives. Cf. Sibley, 

"Robin, loc. cit., 332, Annals of Congress, 9 Con., 2 Sess., 1078, 1901. 

'See map in Perrin Da Lac,, Voyages dans des Deux Louisianes, etc., 
Paris, 1805. 

*See Gayarre, IV; also the Spanish transcripts in the possession of 
Mr. Luis M. Perez of the Library of Congress. 

'Gayarre, IV 418ff. 

"Order of de Nava, November 21, 1794, Bexar Archives. 

'Report of Carondelet, November 24, 1794. in American Historical Re- 
view, II 47, 478. 

62 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

length in a report to Bishop Penalvert of Louisiana, written in 
1799. * The character of the original inhabitants of Louisiana had 
greatly deteriorated through the free admission of America pion- 
eers. These adventureres were scattered over the region bordering 
upon Texas, were employing the Indians upon their farms, and im- 
pressing upon their minds "maxims in harmony with their own 
ambitions." What was worse, they were in the habit of saying to 
each of their robust boys, "You will be the man to go to Mexico." 
They threatened not only Texas, but New Mexico from the coun- 
try of the Illinois. His remedy was to prevent their settlement at 
any of the dangerous points. In 1802, after the innovations of these 
and other Louisiana settlers gave Governor Salcedo a great deal of 
annoyance, that official received instructions to make no more grants 
to Americans. But the damage was already done ; the navigation of 
the Mississippi, naturally leading to the fur trade of its western 
waters, had attracted a frontier population that would be satisfied 
only with the supposedly fabulous mineral wealth of the interior of 


Fauchet, the successor of Genet, was as keenly alive as the latter 
with regard to the importance of possessing Louisiana, but he pre- 
ferred to have France obtain it by diplomacy. When he learned 
the full significance of the Jay treaty, he believed it to be unfavor- 
able to his country and clearly against the treaty of 1778; but 
France had no way to force from the United States a greater re- 
spect for her interests. The true remedy he believed to be the 
acquisition of a continental colony (Louisiana, of course) which 
would give France a needed entrepot for the West India trade, a 
market for her manufactures, and a monopoly of the produce of the 
Mississippi Valley. From this secure position France would have 
the means of bringing pressure to bear upon the United States and 
thus keep her subordinate to her own policy. 2 

The French minister knew from Knox that the United States 
preferred Spain to France as a colonial neighbor, because the for- 
mer was less to be feared. He likewise knew that if Spain per- 

H^ayarrg, IV 407, 408. 

"American Historical Review, X 265. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 63 

sisted in her policy of closing the Mississippi, all of Louisiana must 
soon pass into the possession of the enraged Americans. This, he 
believed, would result in the formation of a new confederacy com- 
posed of the western States and Louisiana, an'd that, too, within 
fifteen years. The only remedy, in his estimation, was for France, 
or some other country stronger than Spain, to gain the country 
bordering on the Mississippi, and then at will to assist or retard 
the development of the western settlements. 1 

Fauchet believed that it would be easy to obtain Louisiana by 
negotiation before France made peace with Spain, and that this 
acquisition would cause a radical change in American policy to- 
words the former. If his country should not obtain Louisiana at 
this time, and if war with Spain continued, he believed it to be in 
accordance with the interests of France to impede the special mis- 
sion of Pinckney to Madrid in behalf of navigation of the Missis- 
sippi; otherwise, by acquiring this boon, the West would be less 
zealous in aiding France to conquer Louisiana, This last means 
was less desirable than diplomacy, but would be reasonably success- 
ful in lieu of a better way, and would receive western support, if 
reciprocal advantages were offered. 

He was certain that the victories of France over Spain fully 
justified great concessions, and that these should be obtained, de- 
spite the opposition of the United States to the retrocession of 
I/ouisiana. His suggestions were forestalled in the instructions 
of the Directory to Barthelemy, the French representative in the 
Treaty of Bale, to insist upon the retrocession of Louisiana as one 
of the conditions of peace. In order to make this condition more 
palatable that diplomat was to represent the advantage of having 
a strong French colony between Mexico and the United States. 
Godoy, however, preferred to yield Santo Domingo rather than 
Louisiana, and the finances of France did not permit a treaty on 
any other basis. 2 A few months later, to prevent an undue alliance 
of American and British interests, the Spaniard likewise made a 
favorable treaty with Pinckney. 

Adet, who in 1795 succeeded Fauchet, believed that it was not 
to the interest of France to go to war with the United States. 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, Vol. II, 567, 568. 
^American Historical Review, X 266, 267; Ogg, Opening of the Missis- 
sippi, 462. 

64 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Such an event would cause that power to unite with Great Britain 
in the conquest of Louisiana and the Floridas. The Americans 
would overrun New Mexico and thence extend far into Mexico it- 
self. 1 Adet, believed, however, that France should acquire Louis- 
iana, and in furtherance of his opinion sent Gen. Victor Collot, 
then in America, on a military reconnaissance of the Mississippi 
Valley. Collot made a thorough examination of such of its im- 
portant topographical features as could be determined from a jour- 
ney down the Ohio and the Mississippi, and his conclusions were 
published some three decades later. 2 

The French officer reported that the Spaniards had attempted 
to close lower Louisiana to the Americans and had opened the upper 
portion, in the mistaken belief that they would thus shut them off 
from Santa Fe. He suggested what Pike afterward demonstrated, 
that the way of approach to New Mexico by the Missouri and its 
tributaries, or by the Arkansas, was comparatively easy. 3 Collot 
likewise believed that the Mississippi would prove of no avail as 
a barrier, if different nations possessed its opposite banks. One 
nation only must dominate the whole valley. This opinion he after- 
ward modified, when Louisiana passed into the control of the 
United States. 4 The French general emphasized the friendship 
which France now professed for Spain by suggesting to the Span- 
ish minister a plan of defense for the entire Mississippi Valley. 5 

While Collot was on this tour his attention was attracted by 
events in the West and in Canada, which abundantly justified the 
preparation of his plan. In October, 1795, the Duke of Port- 
land sent to Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe of Canada a proposal for 
the invasion of Louisiana in case of hostilities with Spain, and 
advised him to sound western opinion upon this subject, but with- 
out compromising either his government or that of the United 
States. 6 Simcoe apparently set to work to carry out his secret in- 
structions, for while Collot was on his way down the Ohio, he 

^American Historical Review, X 268; Report of the American Histori- 
cal Association, 1903, Vol. II 988. 

"Victor Collot, A Journey in North America, etc. (Paris, 1826). 

3 Collott, Journey, II 35, 36, 230-245. 

*IUd., 257. 

^American Historical Review, X 272, 577-582; Report of the American 
Historical Association, 1903, II 1015. 

'American Historical Review, X 273, 274, 575, 576. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 65 

learned something of the Governor's preparations in Canada and 
told Zenon Trudeau, the Spanish commandant at St. Louis, that he 
thought the proposed armament was destined to attack upper Louis- 
iana. Accordingly he gave Trudeau a plan for defending St. 
Louis, which he regarded as the key for the defense of the Upper 
Mississippi and the Missouri and the connecting link for com- 
munication between the Gulf of Mexico and the Southern Ocean. 1 
As he passed down the Mississippi Collot learned that in addition 
to the expedition against Upper Louisiana, British emissaries in 
the Southwest were attempting to organize the frontiersmen and 
Indians for a foray into lower Louisiana and New Mexico, by way 
of Red River. Collot took pains to inform the Spanish command- 
ers of this threatening danger, although he was suspected by 
Carondelet of designs upon the Spanish government of the colony ; 
and he later claimed that while at Natchez he told Gayoso the 
name of the prime mover, John D. Chisholm. 2 

The intrigues of this individual finally involved Senator William 
Blount of Tennessee. The latter, an extensive speculator in lands 
along the lower Mississippi, became alarmed at the prospect of 
France's acquiring Louisiana; and in order to preserve his inter- 
ests planned the seizure of that province and the Floridas for Eng- 
land. His frontier levies were to be joined by an English fleet 
and a military force from Canada, but owing to a premature revela- 
tion of plans, the English government disclaimed any responsibil- 
ity for the action of its subordinates. The most important diplo- 
matic result following the incident was the retention by Spain until 
1798 of certain posts east of the Mississippi posts which she 
should have yielded to the United States upon ratification of the 
Treaty of 1795. 3 Early in 1797 Chisholm visited England, but 
failed to enlist the support of British officials, while the premature 
disclosures of Blount's part in the affair led to his impeachment 
and the loss of his seat in the Senate. 

"Collet, A Journey in North America, I 251; II 5. 

*Ibid., II 5, 12, 64, 65-68; American Historical Review, X 600, 601; 
Robin. Voyages, II 1198. 

"American Historical Review, X 273-275. Cf. also Ibid., 574 et seq , and 
Life and, Correspondence of Rufus King, II 253-258. The surrender of 
these posts was looked upon by certain French statesmen and travelers as 
a great blow to the ambitious colonial policy of France. Cf. Baudry des 
Lozifcres, Voyages a la Louisiane, 202 ; Adams, History of the United 
States, II 61, 62. 

66 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

While the plot of Chisholm and Blount was in the process of 
incubation, there were not lacking shrewd observers to point out 
the fallacy of expecting any true cooperation between Canadian 
levies and American frontiersman. 1 The sympathies of the latter 
could readily be turned into a French channel, but hardly into the 
current of British expansion. Shortly before the Blount incident 
Col. Samuel Fulton, an agent of the Directory, visited George 
liogers Clark and the Creek Indians, where Chisholm met him. 
Upon his return to France he reported that the people of the West 
were ready to act for France, if only furnished with arms. 2 As 
an indication of their desire to arouse a favorable sentiment among 
their former friends, the Directory sent a brigadier-general's com- 
mission to Clark. 3 That their confidence was not misplaced was 
shown by a later letter of Clark to Fulton, 4 in which he reports 
his refusal to head a British expedition against upper Louisiana 
and New Mexico, and his determination to defeat its object. The 
boundary commissioner, Andrew Ellicott, reported from the Natchez 
district a somewhat different sentiment. There a plan was early 
formed to overrun the Floridas and New Orleans if Spain com- 
mitted any hostilities against the United States or joined France 
in the threatened contest. 5 Although Ellicott believed that this 
movement would have been successful, it would not have been a 
movement against France as much as against Spain. Even this 
plan might have been checked by that of the French adventurer, 
Milfort, to enlist the Creeks in a campaign to drive the Americans 
from the Southwest and acquire Louisiana; 6 or of Dupont de 
Nemours and other French scientists to establish a settlement on 
the upper Mississippi within Spanish limits. 7 

Following closely upon the Blount incident come the various 
diplomatic complications arising from the so-called X. Y. Z. Affair. 
The prospect of immediate war rendered probable an alliance be- 
tween Great Britain and the United States against France and her 

American Historical Review, X 576. 

z nid., 270-271; Report of the American Historical Association, 190S, 
II 1097. 
"Ibid., 271. 

'Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, II 1098. 
"Ellicott, Journal, 175. 
6 American Historical Review, X 271. 
7 /6id., 275, note 3; Adams, Life and Works of John Adams, VIII 596. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 67 

half-hearted ally Spain, to be followed by the immediate occupa- 
tion of the Floridas and Louisiana and the possible uprising of all 
Spanish America. In October, 1797, the French consul Letombe 
reported that Hamilton and the ex-tieme Federalists favored such 
a policy, and that the- South Carolina representatives already traced 
the route for such a campaign from Pittsburg to Mexico City by 
way of "Rionorte et Sartila." 1 The prospect of hostilities in 
America again brought Miranda into England for the pur- 
pose of enlisting that nation and the United States in a campaign 
for the independence of all Spanish America west of the Missis- 
sippi. In this campaign he expected a British fleet to 
land ten thousand men at Darien, a small British squad- 
ron to threaten Peru, and five thousand American fron- 
tiersmen to cooperate with them. For a time the Brit- 
ish officials encouraged his 'plan, while awaiting the ex- 
pected overthrow of Spanish independence by France. When that 
event did not materialize, largely because of the opposition of 
Godoy, they allowed Miranda's scheme to lapse. Rufus King, our 
minister to Great Britain, eagerly seconded the plan as affording 
a positive program in place of the mere defensive position which 
England assumed in Europe towards French aggression. Hamil- 
ton, as the active commander of the American forces, regarded 
with favor such an extensive campaign in behalf of American in- 
dependence, and even consulted with Wilkinson regarding its main 
features, but was willing to engage in it only under the auspices 
of his government. The policy of President Adams in adjusting 
our differences with France rendered the wider campaign impos- 
sible and permitted Spain still to retain Louisiana and the Flor- 
idas. 2 

Upon France the effect of the Blount Conspiracy was to increase 
her determination to secure Louisiana. In 1796 General Perignon 
went to Madrid to arrange a formal alliance between Spain and 
France. Although he represented the danger to both countries 
from an alliance between Great Britain and the United States for 
the purpose of dividing North America, and pointed out that the 

^Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, Vol. II, 1076; cf. 
also Adams, Life and Works of John Adams, I 252, 679-684. 

"King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, II 649-666; III 556-565. 
Cf. also the introduction of Hale, Philip Nolan's Friends, XII, XIII, XV. 

68 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

cession of Louisiana to France was the only possible check to this 
movement, he did not succeed in gaining the coveted province. 1 
The offer to conquer and divide Portugal or else to exchange 
Louisiana for the papal legations were likewise without result. 2 

When in July, 1797, Tallyrand assumed the position of minister 
of foreign affairs under the Directory, he ushered in a new and 
more successful era in Louisiana diplomacy. The ex-bishop of 
Autun believed that the commercial and political interests of the 
United States and Great Britain were naturally allied, and that 
in opposition to them France must build up a colonial system of 
her own. 3 The following year he was in a position to reveal some 
of the details necessary to inaugurate this system. By this time 
Godoy had been driven from power and Urquijo, a minister more 
complaisant to the French Directory, now managed the foreign af- 
fairs of Spain. Accordingly Tallyrand instructed Guillemardet 4 
at Madrid, to show to the Spanish government the evil effects fol- 
lowing the delivery to the Americans of the posts on the Missis- 
sippi. He was then to represent vividly the danger to Spanis'h in- 
terests because of the ambition and cupidity of the Americans, 
their determination to dominate the western continent and perhaps 
Europe, and the possibility of their union with Great Britain in 
order to realize this program. The only way to curb their ambi- 
tion was to shut them up "within the limits which Nature seems 
to have traced for them" (i. e. the Appalachians). Spain could 
not do this, so she must hasten to appeal for aid to a "preponderat- 
ing Power," whose recompense should be "a small part of her im- 
mense dominions" (Louisiana and the Floridas). As mistress 
of these two provinces the French Eepublic would be "a wall of 
brass forever impenetrable to the combined efforts of England and 

Certain mistakes of domestic and of foreign policy interfered 
with the immediate success of Tallyrand's plans and forced his 
retirement from office until after the coup d'etat of the 18th Bru- 

1 American Historical Review, X 268, 269. 

*IUd., 269. 

"Henry Adams, History of the United States, I 352. 

*Ibid., 355ff. One French traveler of the period, however, emphasizes 
the fact that his nation would make Louisiana something more than an 
unproductive barrier colony. Perrin Du Lac, Voyages dans les Deux 
Louisianes, 236. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier^ 69 

maire; but he had prepared the way for the early acquisition of the 
coveted province and had shown that this acquisition would be full 
of danger to the United States. His restoration to office in 1800 
and the battle of Marengo enabled him to resume the negotiation 
with every prospect of success. A special courier was sent to Al- 
quier, the French representative at Madrid, to empower the latter 
to offer an increase in territory and power to the prospective Duke 
of Parma, the son-in-law of the Spanish king, in return for Louis- 
iana. 1 Alquier accompanied his proposal by threatening Urquijo 
with the fate of Godoy, and brought the influence of the Queen to 
bear upon the wavering King. Thus the point of retrocession was 

Meanwhile Napoleon determined upon a special agent to super- 
sede Alquier and to demand the Floridas in addition to Louisiana. 2 
In this latter demand the agent, General Berthier, was unsuccess- 
ful and was forced to content himself with signing at San Ilde- 
fonso, October 1, 1800, a treaty for the retrocession of Louisiana 
alone. During the following March Napoleon's brother Lucien 
signed at Madrid a new treaty carrying into effect the provision^ 
of the former one, 3 but in some respects more unfavorable to the 
sinister designs of the First Consul. For more than a year Godoy, 
who again dominated the counsels of the King of Spain, delayed 
the transfer of the ceded province to Napoleon until he had re 
ceived the formal promise of the latter never to alienate it. 4 Then 
-disease and insurrection in Santo Domingo saved Louisiana from 
the presence of the French troops and destroyed Napoleon's dream 
of a new colonial empire in the Mississippi Valley. 

The retrocession of Louisiana had not been accomplished with- 
out the knowledge of American authorities. Early in 1797 Pick- 
ering, the secretary of state, had warned Kufus King 5 that France 
contemplated the acquisition of Louisiana and that he should find 
out as much as possible about the matter and endeavor to thwart 
it by such means as lay within his power. In September of the 
following year, during a conference with Lord Hawkesbury, the 

''Adams, History of the United States, I 363, 364. 

"Ibid., 366. 

"IUd., 372. 

4 Ibid., 400. 

5 King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, II 147. 

70 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

latter told King 1 that there was no doubt that France had ob- 
tained possession of Louisiana, He also assured him that Eng- 
land had no desire to extend her colonial empire to include the 
Mississippi Valley. These early rumors of French possession were 
later found to be premature, and merely suggested the possibility 
of a combination of England and America to arrest French aggres- 
sion and liberate Spanish America. 2 

Within a few months after the signing of the Treaty of San 
Ildefonso, King reported to the secretary of state 8 rumors then 
current in London concerning the cession of Louisiana to France. 
This act implied not merely undesirable neighbors in the persons 
of emigres or superannuated soldiers from France, but likewise a 
serious design to entice the western settlers or arouse the slaves in 
the South. By November King was able to send home a copy of 
the Treaty of Madrid, 4 although each of the principals still con- 
tinued to deny its existence. Later King attempted to persuade 
the British government to take some action at Amiens looking to 
the destoration of Louisiana to Spain. Although both Hawkes- 
bury and Landsdowne were opposed to the transfer to France and 
were ready to join the United States in defending the common 
right to navigate the Mississippi, they believed it inadvisable to 
suggest the subject in the Treaty of Amiens. 5 American dip- 
lomacy, then, must depend upon its own efforts to neutralize the 
effect of the retrocession. 

The most obvious policy for the United States to pursue was 
that of acquiring New Orleans and the Floridas. As soon as Mr. 
King's warnings had had time to produce their natural effect, Jef- 
ferson and his advisers took measures to meet the new issue raised 
by the transfer. To Charles Pinckney, our minister at Madrid, 
Madison penned a caution to watch the general interests of his 
country,* while three months later he instructed Robert R. Livings- 
ton at Paris to make direct approaches to the French government 
for the acquisition of the Floridas, or at least West Florida. 7 For 

Ill 572. 
"See page 67. 

'King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, III 414, 415, 447-449. 
4 /6id., IV 15. 

*IUd., IV 17-19, 56, 57, 58, 86, 108, 109, 123. 

"State Papers and Correspondence Bearing upon the Purchase of the 
Territory of Louisiana, 5, House Document No. 431, 57 Cong., 2 Sess. 
Void.,' 6-8. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 71 

several months, however, the correspondence of our ministers 
abroad was filled with unofficial confirmations of the proposed 
transfer, coupled with official denials of the act or evasions of the 
proposal to sell the Floridas to the United States; while the pros- 
pective French expedition to Santo Domingo caused all great un- 
easiness because of its possible diversion to Louisiana. Jefferson 
at home suggested a possible alliance with the British naval power ; 
King at London proposed united action to preserve the navigation 
of the Mississippi. From Paris Livingston tried to arouse Spain 
by intimating the danger to Mexico from French vicinage and to 
alarm England by referring to the unsettled boundary between 
Louisiana and Canada, while he attempted to demonstrate to the 
French government the futility of their new acquisition. At Mad- 
rid Pinckney endeavored to make sure of the Floridas and Newt 
Orleans by a guaranty of Spanish possessions west of the Missis- 
sippi. 1 Yet nearly the whole year, 1802, passed with the question 
of the disposal of Louisiana still uncertain. 

An element of definiteness was imparted to the question when, 
on. October 16, 1802, the intendant, Morales, at New Orleans sus- 
pended the right of deposit which American citizens, since 1798, 
had enjoyed at that port. It is usually supposed that the impulse 
that led to this action followed the treaty of cession, even if it did 
not emanate directly from Napoleon. 2 This act aroused the West 
as none other could, and emphasized the necessity of securing con- 
trol of the mouth of the Mississippi in order to avoid possible 
future embroilment through the action of local officials. Accord- 
ingly Jefferson appointed Monroe as special envoy to cooperate with 
Livingston at Paris and with Pinckney at Madrid to purchase New 
Orleans -and the Floridas. In case of failure to secure East Florida 
and New Orleans, the next best thing was the possession of West 
Florida, including the whole of the channel of the Iberville. By 
artificial means this could be rendered navigable at all seasons, and 
with a port on Lake Pontchatrain the settlers of the Mississippi 
Valley would become wholly independent of New Orleans. 3 

20-50 passim; also manuscript volume in Bureau of Indexes 
and Archives, "Letters of C. Pinckney and R. Livingston, Spanish Dis- 

"Adams, History of the United States, I 418, 419. 

"Gallatin to Madison, February 7, 1803, in Works of Madison, II 179. 

72 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Before this time the restoration of peace in Europe had led King 
Charles, on October 15, 1802, to sign the order for the delivery of 
the province to Napoleon, and nothing stood in the way of the 
colonial empire of the latter but the insurrection of the blacks in 
Santo Domingo. Despite this interruption to his plans he pro- 
ceeded, through his Minister of the Marine, to give instructions 
to Victor, the designated captain-general of Louisiana. In these 
instructions he makes the significant claim that the western bound- 
ary of Louisiana was the Eio Bravo as far as the 30th parallel, 
and that beyond that point the boundary was wholly undecided. 1 

After the Santo Domingo revolt had delayed the moment of 
taking possession of Louisiana, the prospect of a speedy rupture 
with England, coupled with the necessities of his ever needy mili- 
tary chest, turned the dream of an American dependency stretch- 
ing to the Pacific and opening a new pathway to the Orient, 2 into 
a bargain and sale. To the surprise of the American commission- 
ers, Napoleon suddenly proffered them the whole of Louisiana. 
After a few weeks of hesitation and bargaining, the Corsican's 
hardly acquired possession, with its uncertain limits, passed into 
the keeping of the young Eepublic of the West. 

Diplomatic struggles, growing directly or indirectly out of the 
Louisiana Purchase, were to affect our foreign relations for the 
next half century, and our government was not even to enter into 
possession of its disputed limits without a serious diplomatic dis- 
pute between Madison and Casa Yrujo, the Spanish minister at 
Washington. In considering the consequences to Spain of the un- 
toward transfer, the latter did not apprehend any worse result than 
clandestine trading by the Americans within the Mexican prov- 
inces. This practice could be checked, if not absolutely controlled, 
by Spain, as long as she possessed the power of making reprisals 
from the Floridas. Louisiana in the hands of Spain had been a 
constant bill of expense, with no military advantage to offset, for 
it was too extended and too weakly garrisoned to prove an effective 
bulwark to New Mexico and the interior provinces. On the other 

^Axlams, History of the United States, II 6. For a full discussion of 
the real significance of these instructions upon the territorial status of 
Texas, cf. article by Prof. J. R. Ficklen, in Publications of the Southern 
Historical Association, V 383. 

2 Cf. Baudry des Lozieres, Voyages a la Louisiana, 227. 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 73 

hand, aside from the control of the mouth of the Mississippi, he 
believed that its possession by the United States would be a dis- 
tinct detriment to the latter, for in his judgment two centuries 
would pass before the country could be effectively populated, and 
in the meantime centrifugal tendencies would destroy the present 
form of the American government. While Spain continued to pos- 
sess the Floridas and Havana, it would be comparatively easy to 
blockade the mouth of the Mississippi and thus check any am- 
bitious attempts of the western States upon Mexico. On the whole, 
he preferred the Americans as neighbors to Victor's troops with 
appetites whetted for further conquests. 1 

Although Casa Yrujo fully believed the cession detrimental to 
the United States, he lost no time in following Cevallos' instruc- 
tions to protest against the act on account of Napoleon's bad faith 
in alienating Louisiana. The protest was expressed in two vigor- 
ous notes of September 12th and 27th, and merely elicited from 
Madison the verbal response that Cevallos had referred to France 
the American desire to acquire the Floridas, that the Spanish 
?overeign had consented to transfer the province to the same power, 
and that any questions of good or bad faith arising outside the lan- 
guage of the treaty must be settled between that power and Spain. 
This controversy was later settled by Napoleon's inducing the Span- 
ish government to withdraw its protest against his sale of Louis- 
iana, while he agreed to assist that government to retain the Flor- 
idas. 2 Before instructions based upon this agreement reached 
Casa Yiujo, he had already done what he could, in a small way, to 
delay the transfer, by refusing to legalize certain papers in con- 
nection with that act. 3 The only effect of his natural but mistaken 
zeal was to alarm the American authorities and to exasperate the 
French minister. Measures were immediately taken to gain pos- 
session of Louisiana by force, should the Spanish troops therein 
offer any resistance. Fortunately these precautions were unneces- 
sary, and on December 20, 1803, the American commissioners re- 
ceived from the French prefect the province that for a score of 

*Casa Yrujo to Cevallos, August 3, November 5, 1803, in Henry Adams, 
"Spanish State Papers." These papers of Mr. Adams are deposited in the 
Bureau of Rolls and Library, State Department. 

'Consult Adams, History of the United States, II, passim. 

s Casa Yrujo to Cevallos, September 30 and October 16, 1803, in Adams, 
"Spanish State Papers." 

74 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

years had been the center of the most important diplomatic in- 
trigues of our history. 

The most important single feature of the early history of this 
section is that of the limits of Louisiana. This is shown by the 
almost interminable diplomatic correspondence of the three de- 
cades following its acquisition. We have noticed the French claims 
to the westward, uncertainly marked by the Guadalupe, the Rio 
Grande, or still more indefinitely by the province of New Mexico. 
These claims had no more secure basis than LaSalle's unfortunate 
settlement, and after 1730 there is no serious attempt or even 
claim to penetrate beyond the Arroyo Hondo in the south, or the 
middle course of the Missouri farther to the northward. There 
is acquiescence in the Spanish occupation of Texas as far as Adaes, 
even if this occupation is of the slightest character. The French 
hold on Louisiana is equally ineffective. 

It is noteworthy that the French writers of the period before 
1762 almost uniformly ignore the province of Texas and speak 
of Louisiana as extending to New Mexico. This view is revived 
in a book of travels published as late as 1803. 1 In fact we may 
say th t the years from 1803 to 1806 form the period when the 
American officials first discovered Texas as an entity to be reckoned 
with in diplomatic correspondence and frontier relations. Spanish 
diplomats and governors, in calling their attention to this fact (by 
no means an agreeable one at first), were merely emphasizing their 
own documentary history. Nor did they do this to the fullest pos- 
sible extent. 

The instructions of Decres to Victor, in 1802, have been em- 
ployed to justify a later American claim to Texas. These instruc- 
tions, however, appear to have originated with Talleyrand or Na- 
poleon, and merely revive a claim that had lain dormant since the 
publication of Du Pratz's Histoire. They -utterly ignore French 
acquiescence in the Spanish occupation of Texas. Moreover, they 
seem to show a revival of that earlier desire to reach the Mexican 
mines a desire that haunted every adventurer and explorer from 
LaSalle and Penalosa to Nolan and Pike. What is more natural 
to suppose than that the greatest adventurer of his age, the future 

^erquin-Duvallon, Vue de la Colonie Espagnole du Mississippi, 5 
(Paris, 1803). 

The Louisiana-Texas Frontier. 75 

despoiler of the mother country, Spain, should desire to obtain as 
large a portion as possible of her most desirable colony? When 
this policy would place his troops near the supposed seat of fabulous 
mineral wealth, we may well imagine that Napoleon would not 
hesitate to assert the greatest possible claim. A people professing 
a higher standard of public morals might well hesitate to follow 
this claim to its uttermost limiis, and even to push beyond it, yet 
later history reveals a contrary coiinie. 

76 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 



1. Introduction: the Colonization Laws. 

In 1834 and 1835 some large grants of land were made to spec- 
ulators by the legislature of Coahuila and Texas. The sale of four 
hundred leagues by an act of March 14, 1835, to replenish the 
empty treasury of the State was especially resented by the Texans 
as an exploitation of their own resources for the benefit of Coa- 
huila. To understand all the circumstances, it will first be neces- 
sary to review some features of the Mexican colonization laws. 

The colonization law of Coahuila and Texas was promulgated 
on the 24th of March, 1825, in accordance with the national de- 
cree of August 18, 1824. Foreigners were invited to settle freely 
in the country, and live for ten years exempt from taxation, pro- 
vided they took the oath of allegiance. To each married man who 
desired to farm a labor, or 177 acres, of land was given; if he 
wished also to raise cattle, he received an additional twenty-four 
labors of grazing land, making a sitio, or league, of 4428 acres in 
all. Settlers were required to pay for this amount of land a nom- 
inal sum $30 for a sitio of grazing land, and $2.50 for a labor 
ot' unirrigable and $3.50 for a labor of irrigable farming land. 
Payments might be made in three instalments, beginning the 
fourth year after settlement. The empresario system was recog- 
nized, and contractors were allowed for each hundred families 
that they introduced a premium of five leagues and five labors, 
provided that they should not receive a premium for more than 
eight hundred families which would enable them to acquire forty- 
one leagues and fifteen labors. 1 Of this amount, however, they 
could keep only eleven leagues, being required to alienate the excess 
within twelve years. For the purpose of this paper it is important 
to note that the government reserved the right to sell to Mexicans, 

J Forty leagues of grazing land and forty labors, or a league and fifteen 
labors, of farming land. EDITOR QUARTERLY. 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 77 

only, such land as they desired, not exceeding eleven leagues to one 
person; that no grant was to be made within twenty leagues of a 
foreign state without the approval of the supreme government; 
and that no one who did not reside in the Kepublic could retain 
a title to any land therein. These last two conditions and the 
eleven league limit were imposed by the national colonization law, 
and were simply incorporated in the state law. 1 

2. The Speculations. 

Eleven-league grants. The speculation in Texas lands seems 
to have grown out of this right of the government to 
sell to Mexicans. The law fixed the price to them at 
$100, $150, and $250 per league respectively of pasture, 
unirrigable, and irrigable farming land. The. first sale by 
the government was made to Juan Antonio Padilla, in 1828. 
During the next two years only a few sales were made, but in 
1830 James Bowie went to Saltillo, at that time the capital of 
Coa'huila and Texas, and returned with fifteen or sixteen eleven- 
league grants, which he had induced Mexican citizens to apply for 
and had then purchased from them. 2 Other Mexicans, some of 
them as far away as the City of Mexico perceiving a chance of 
profit, also applied for eleven-league grants, and received them. 3 
Doubtless from this time dated a considerable traffic. This may 
be inferred from a letter written by Dr. Asa Hoxey to R. M. Wil- 
liamson in December, 1832. Writing from Montgomery, Alabama, 
whither he had gone on business from Texas, Dr. Hoxey said: 
"You mentioned in your last letter that you believed Mexican 
grants of eleven leagues could be procured for a reasonable sum, 
if so you will perceive by the enclosed proposition that Mr. Edward 
Hanrick, George Whitman and myself are disposed to procure some 
of them." 4 Later testimony shows that the traffic became very ex- 
tensive. In February, 1835, B. R. Milam petitioned the political 

Colonization Law of Coahuila and Texas, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, 
99-106; National Colonization Law. articles 4, 12, 15, in Gammel, Laws 
of Texas, I 97-98. 

"Statement of Samuel M. Williams, in 1840, to Robert Potter, Chair- 
man of Committee on Public Lands, supplement to House Journal of Fifth. 
Congress (of Texas), p. 369. 


78 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

chief to ask the governor to appoint special commissioners to assign 
lands and titles to isolated families in Texas, and gave as the rea- 
son for his request that many people who had come to Texas eight 
cr ten years before under the terms of the colonization law and 
had settled on vacant lands and taken the oath of allegiance to 
Mexico had during the last year "been surveyed in and attempted 
to be dispossessed by foreigners and others under pretended eleven- 
league grants." His efforts as empresario and those of the state 
"to colonize designated portions of the lands of Texas/' were, he 
said, "in great danger of being defeated by the claimants of eleven- 
league grants." And Thomas F. McKinney, writing in October, 
1835, said that the government had been in the habit of issuing 
great numbers of these eleven-league grants at from $100 to $150 
a league. There had never been any "hue and cry" raised against 
it, many of the best citizens had engaged in the business, and 
some of them held grants in their name for friends residing in the 
United States. 1 

But in 1834 and 1835 a bewildering series of laws was passed 
which opened wide the gates to speculation on a wholesale scale. 

The law of March 26, 1 884. The first law (March 
26, 1834) decreed that the vacant lands of the state 
should be surveyed in lots of 177 acres each, and sold 
at public auction to the highest bidder at a minimum in Texas of 
ten dollars a lot. Payments were to be made in three instalments, 
one-third down and the balance in one and two years. Nobody was 
to be permitted to buy more than eleven leagues, but the law was 
particularly liberal in that it allowed foreigners to purchase and 
gave them a year in which to move their families to the state and 
become naturalized which was necessary for the perfection of 
their titles. Another liberal feature provided that no one should 
be molested for religious or political opinions so long as he kept 
the peace. And, finally, it was decreed that no further coloniza- 
tion contracts should be entered into, which meant, of course, that 
the profits formerly accruing to the empresarios in premiums 
would now go to the government. 2 By a supplementary law of 

*The Texas Republican, March 28, and October 24, 1835. 

"The law also provided that settlers who were already in Texas and 
mot attached to any empresario' 's colony especially those of Nacogdoches 
.and the eastern frontier should receive titles to the lands due them, and 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 79 

April 23, 1834, it was decreed that after the lands had been "once 
exposed at public sale with all the formalities," if no offer were 
received as high as the minimum, they might later be sold to any 
person offering the minimum price "without the necessity of again 
opening the auction/' 1 

That advantage was taken of this law for speculative purposes 
does not positively appear perhaps the eleven-league limit made 
it unattractive, but the supplementary decree certainly does sug- 
gest a clearing of the decks for rapid action. And Judge T. J. 
Chambers, writing in 1837, declared that only by his efforts was 
defeated the proposal of- a "foreign millionaire company," whose 
agent was Gen. John T. Mason, to purchase for a "pittance" some 
twenty million acres of land on the eastern frontier. "He was in- 
formed by several means," he said, "that members of the legis- 
lature and the governor were offered large bribes to pass the meas- 
ure; the governor was pledged to him to veto the bill if it passed, 
but fortunately a majority of the members were honest and killed 
it." 2 Mason did, however, secure a large grant during this session 
of the legislature, and after reviewing all the eviednce it is not 
altogether clear that he did not get it under some extension of this 

The law of April 19, 1834. The second law affecting 
the public lands was passed April 19, 1834. "With the 
intention," runs the preamble, "of protecting the lives and 
property of the citizens, constantly sacrificed to the per- 
fidy, rage, and barbarity of the hostile Indians, and desirous that 
so important and sacred an object may be accomplished without 
giving additional care to the general government, . . . the 
congress of the state . . . has thought proper to decree : 

"Art. 1. The executive, availing himself of the resources of the 
state, shall repress the ferocity of the savages. . . . 

"Art. 2. For said object the executive may dispose of such num- 

333 persons took advantage of the opportunity to obtain titles to an ag- 
gregate of 325 leagues of land. John P. Borden, Land Commissioner, to 
Robert Potter, Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, in Supple- 
ment to House Journal, Fifth Congress (of Texas), p. 347. 

'Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, Nos. 272 and 280, in Gammel, Laws 
of Texas, I 357-62 and 382. 

^Sketch of the Life of Gen. T. J. Chambers of Texas, by his nephew, 
Wm. N. Chambers, of Liberty county (Galveston, 1853), p. 36, quoting 
from a pamphlet published by T. J. Chambers in 1837. 

80 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

her as he shall consider necessary of the militia which the state 
has in the departments wherein hostilities are committed, and for 
paying or remunerating the militiamen, he may take of the vacant 
lands to the amount of four hundred sitios, distributing them 
agreeably to the rules and conditions he shall establish. 

"Art. 3. For the present twenty thousand dollars are hereby 
appropriated, of the first receipts of the state treasury for sales of 
lands made by virtue of the law on the subject." 1 Just a year 
later, April 14, 1835, another law declared that the executive could 
not dispose of the four hundred sitios of land mentioned in article 
2nd of this law, "except solely for the object which said law deter- 
mines"; but ^agreeably to the aforementioned law the executive 
has been, and is, authorized to contract the aforementioned lands, 
or to distribute them, as he shall think most proper, among the 
militia men, who prosecute the war against the savages." 2 

It was under this law of April 19, 1834, that S. M. Williams, 
Eobert Peebles, and F. W. Johnson obtained their grant for four 
hundred leagues, as will later appear. But Chambers declares that 
Mason also manipulated it to accomplish on a comparatively small 
scale what Chambers had previously prevented his doing on a very 
large one. Chambers's statement, in brief, is, that the Indians 
really were troubling the frontiers and that the law was passed in 
good faith to provide a means of suppressing them. It was the 
intention of the law that the land should be distributed to the 
militia, and not sold, but by a trick in the enrolment of the bill it 
was so changed as to authorize the governor to sell it to anybody,* 

^Decree No. 278, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, I 270-71. Articles 2 and 3 
are important, therefore it may be advisable to give the Spanish: 

"Art. 2. A este fin dispondra en el numero que concid6re necesario de 
la milicia que el Estado tiene en los departamentos hostilizados, y para 
pagar 6 premiar a los milicianos podra hechar mano de las tierras valdfas 
hasta en cuantidad de cua trocientos sitios, repartiendolos bajo las reglas 
y condiciones que establesca. 

"Art. 3. Por ahora se designan viente mil pesos de lo primero que 
ingrese al tesoro del Estado, por las ventas de tierras que se hagan en 
virtud de la ley de la materia." Laws of Coahuila and Texas. 

2 Decree No. 299, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, I 397. 

'Pamphlet of Wm. N. Chambers, 37 ; Yoakum, History of Texas, I 321, 
note. Chamber's own explanation of the trick is as follows: "The article 
of the decree relating to the subject . . . provided that the troops 
should be paid, or rewarded, with vacant lands, in the following terms: 
"Y para pagar 6 premiar a los milicianos podra hechar mano de las 
tierras valdias hasta in cantidad de cuatro cientos sitios, repartiendoselos 
bajo las reglas y condiciones que establesca." These were the terms 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 81 

and he implies that Mason took it all. Mason did get hold of some 
land how much is uncertain in 1834, under a contract dated 
June 19, 1 but that it was granted by authority of this law is not 
clear. Chambers's story of the trick of enrolment, though it is 
clever and may be true, is, in view of the evidence, somewhat im- 
probable. If the land was to be distributed only to the soldiers, 
and not sold, what is the meaning of article 3 (see above, page 80), 
which appropriates $20,000 "of the first receipts of the state treas- 
ury for sales of lands made by virtue of the law on the subject" ? 
And does not the supplementary law of April 14, 1835, declaring 
that the governor shall only dispose of the lands for the purpose 
designated in the original law, suggest the inference that the four 
hundred leagues had not up to that time been sold at all? The 
whole matter is extremely confused and the only positive statement 
that one feels warranted in making, until further evidence de- 
velops, is that Mason got a grant in June, 1834, for ninety-five 
leagues, certainly, probably for three hundred leagues, and possibly 
for more. He may have obtained it by a manipulation of the law 
of March 26, or by the law of April 19 though the latter is im- 

in which it received the sanction of Congress, and, if it had remained 
thus expressed, the executive could never had sold the land to speculators. 
For repartiendoselos is a compound word, composed of the participle of 
the verb repartir (to divide among), and the two pronouns se and los, one 
of which refers to the land and the other to the troops; making it obliga- 
tory upon the executive to divide the land among the troops. But the 
ingenious member caused the pronoun se, referring to the troops, to be 
omitted in engrossing the decree; and it received the sanction of the ex- 
ecutive, and was published as a law, with the compound word changed 
into repartiendolos, leaving the executive free to dispose of the four hun- 
dred leagues of land, by dividing them out, without determining among 

*The statement of Land Commissioner John P. Borden, in the Supple- 
ment to the House Journal of the Fifth Congress (1840), p. 347, shows 
that under Mason's contract, dated June 19, 1834, there were issued by 
his agent, James Bowie, nine titles for an aggregate of ninety-five leagues. 
I have been unable to find these titles in the Land Office, though it is pos- 
sible they are still there. Samuel M. Williams, in an address to the peo- 
ple of Texas, July, 1835, declared that Mason,'s grant was for 300 leagues. 
(See The Texas Republican, July 25, 1835, in the Austin Papers. Brown 
{History of Texas, I 261) says that the Legislature of 1834 squandered 
"to dishonest speculators eleven hundred leagues of land in one transac- 
tion and four hundred leagues in another." He implies that it was done 
after July, 1834, but goes on to say that "the Constitution mentions by 
name John T. Mason, of New York, as chief beneficiary in this wholesale 
squandering of the public domain." He gives no authority for his figures. 
Kennedy (Texas, II 83) simply says, "An immense extent of the domain 
of Texas had been granted in 1834 to John T. Mason, of New York." 

82 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

probable or, finally, he may have gotten it by some private ar- 
rangement of which we know nothing. 

The law of March 14, 1835. The next law in the 
series, passed March 14, 1835, authorized the governor, in 
order to meet "the present exigencies of the state," to 
dispose of the public land to the amount of four hundred 
leagues. Article 2 allowed him to regulate the colonization of this 
land on such conditions as he thought proper, "without subjection 
to the provision of the law of the 26th of March of the year last 
past." As an afterthought, it occurred to the legislature that this 
might be interpreted too liberally, and two weeks later (March 30) 
another decree explained that the governor was, of course, to con- 
sider himself "subject to the general laws of the union." 1 

Under this act S. M. Williams and John Durst obtained a hun- 
dred and twenty-four leagues, 2 and we have it on the authority of 
the legislature that other contracts were made for the remainder 
of the four hundred leagues, 3 but by whom we do not know, since 
the grants appear never to have been located. Williams and Durst 
immediately re-sold a hundred and twenty-one leagues of their 
grant to fourteen persons, mainly in blocks of ten leagues each, 
Which were located principally in the present counties of Harrison, 
Nacogdoches, and Red River. 

The national congress hearing of this law of March 14, annulled 
it by a decree of April 25. The reason assigned was that the law 
was contrary in articles 1 and 2 to the national colonization law 
of August 18, 1824. The decree declared moreover, that "by 
virtue of the authority reserved to the general congress in article 7 
of the law of August 18, 1824, 4 frontier and coast states were for- 
bidden to alienate their vacant lands for colonization until rules 
could be established to govern the same. In the meantime, if any 
state wished to sell a part of its vacant domain, it must first secure 
the approval of the general government, which should in every case 

"Decrees Nos. 293 and 295, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, I 391-92, 393. 

2 Land Titles, Vol. 34, in the General Land Office. 

3 Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, in Gammel, Laws of Texas, 
I 412. 

*This article is as follows: "Until the year 1840 the general Congress 
shall not prohibit the admission of foreigners to colonize, excepting, in- 
deed, circumstances should imperiously oblige it so to do, with regard to 
the individuals of any nation." Gammel, Laws of Texas, I 97. It is not 
easy to see the bearing of this article upon the point in question. 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 83 

have the right to take the land for itself and pay the state a suit- 
able indemnity for it. Therefore, in conformity with articles 3 and 
4 of the law of April 6, 1830, 1 the general government might buy 
from the state of Coahuila and Texas the four hundred leagues of 
land which it was said to be necessary to sell." 2 Eeplying, May 
13, the legislature expressed its "extreme regret" at the "impos- 
sibility of fulfilling the decree of the general congress." Not an 
article, it declared, in the Whole law of August 18, 1824, applied to 
article 1 of the law in question, and, as regards article 2, the gov- 
ernor had been expressly instructed to guide himself in his rules 
for the settlement of the lands by the national law. Continuing, 
the memorial said: "This legislature has read and deliberately 
weighed the literal text of article 7th of the general law [referred 
to by the law] of the 25th of April last, and does not find, either 
in the letter or the spirit of the former, the reasons of the latter 
for prohibiting the border and literal [littoral] states from alienat- 
ing their vacant lands for colonizing thereon." The land was al- 
ready sold and part of the purchase price had been received, the 
contracts were made in good faith and were not opposed to the gen- 
eral law; therefore the legislature prayed congress to repeal its de- 
cree of April 25. 3 Here the matter rested until the approach of 
federal troops put the legislature to flight. 

In an opinion of some four thousand words David G. Burnet, 
late in 1835, upheld the right of the general government to annul 
these sales. 4 

The law of April 7, 1835. The next and final law 
of which advantage was taken to sell Texas land was passed 

*"Art. 3. The government may name one or more commissioners to 
visit the colonies of the frontier States, and regulate with their Legisla- 
tures the purchase of those lands which they consider suitable for the 
establishment of colonies of Mexicans, or any other nation in favor of the 
federation. . . . 

"Art. 4. The executive may take possession of the lands which he deems 
necessary for the purpose of constructing thereon fortifications and 
arsenals and for new colonies, indemnifying the States by subtracting the 
value of said lands from duties due to the federation." Dublan y Lozano, 
Legislation Mexicana, II 238. 

2 Arrillaga, Recopilacion de Leyes y Decretos, X 145. Newell, History 
of the Revolution in Texas (New York, 1838), p. 40, says, erroneously, 
that the law was annulled because the State was in arrears for its share 
of the national debt. 

""Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas," in Gammel, Laws of 
Texas, I 301-3. 

4 Pamphlet in the Austin Papers. 

84 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

April 7, 1835. News had been received that General Cos 
had ordered troops to march on Monclova and suppress the legis- 
lature, and that body forthwith authorized the governor "to take 
of himself whatever measures he might think proper for secur- 
ing the public tranquillity and sustaining the authorities in the 
free exercise of their functions." Article 4 declared that "The 
executive is hereby competently authorized to contract loans upon 
the state rents for the purpose of discharging the expense incurred 
in the execution of this decree." 1 It is somewhat surprising to 
find that the governor considered this as sufficient authority to 
dispose of more Texas land. Perhaps he thought that at all times 
a "proper measure." At any rate, on May 2d, Dr. James Grant 
was allowed to contract for a quantity of certificates for one league 
each. One hundred of these he sold in Nacogdoches through his 
agent, Alexander Newlands, and the titles were issued by John 
Cameron after the closing of .the land offices. Besides these, 
James Ogilvy, an attorney of New Orleans, wrote in 1839 that 
Grant's heirs had in their possession three hundred similar certifi- 
cates, and that he had been interested in five hundred altogether. 
The face of the certificates shows that the price was paid in full 
but does not specify what it was. Ogilvy intimates, however, that 
Grant paid $100 a league. 2 It is possible that some of the certifi- 
cates referred to by Ogilvy were purchased under the law of March 

The grant to Williams, Peebles, and Johnson. Enough has 
been said, perhaps to show that the transgression of Williams, 
Peebles, and Johnson in the final speculation was by no 
means unique. It was not even novel in its magnitude, though 
ii. may have been somewhat original in method. On the llth of 
May, 1835, they addressed a note to the governor, saying that they 
had "informed themselves of the tenor of the law of April 19, 
1834. empowering him to dispose of four hundred leagues of land 
and restrain the arrogance of the wild Indians. We "have con- 
ceived the idea," they continued, "of blending the object of this be- 
nevolent design with the augmentation of the population by means 

1 Decree No. 297, Laws and Decrees of Coahuila and Texas, in Gammel, 
Laws of Texas, I 394. 

2 Volume 34 of Titles in the General Land Office; Supplement to the 
House Journal of the Fifth Congress, p. 347; Ogilvy to Packenham, 
August 20, 1839, Diplomatic Correspondence in the Texas State Library. 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 85 

of a contract, which we offer your Excellency, strictly and literally 
to fulfill. We obligate ourselves to place, subject to the orders of 
your Excellency, ono thousand able-bodied men, with all their equip- 
ments of war for the term of one year, and we will cause them to 
rendezvous at the place which may be designated to us within the 
term of four months at most, on the condition that, in compensa- 
tion for our labors, the four hundred leagues of land be granted to 
us." The governor approved the proposal, and two days later a for- 
mal contract was signed. The petitioners were required to raise by 
voluntary enlistment within two months five hundred men, and 
within four months the whole number of one thousand. They were 
to be provided by the contractors with good arms and an abundance 
of ammunition at all times; but the government would furnish 
them food and horses. Article 12 declared that failure to fulfil 
any of the stipulations would render the whole contract void. 1 No 
pecuniary consideration is mentioned in the contract, but it is 
not certain that the contractors were not also required to pay a 
nominal sum for their grant. For D. B. Edward declares that 
"A committee [headed by S. M. Williams] from a company of 
Land speculators, whose plans were well laid and whose funds 
were completely organized, presented themselves before this 
. . . Legislature; who immediately passed a decree to sell the 
vacant lands of Texas, and otherwise arranged it to be done as soon 
as bidders should present themselves. Of course they were there 
and purchased this already surveyed land, of 411 leagues, for 
30,000 dollars in hand, to the Government." 2 This statement, with 
slight variations, appears in most of the subsequent histories of 
Texas 3 It may refer to this contract by Williams, Peebles, and 
Johnson, or to some of the other purchases that were made 
in 1835. Johnson himself, in a review (MS.) of Ed- 
ward's History of Texas, replied to this charge with an 
emphatic denial that either he or his associates "bought 

Supplement to the House Journal of the Fifth Congress, 329-32. 

'Edward, History of Texas, 236. 

"See Newell, History of the Revolution of Texas, etc., New York, 1838, 
pp. 40-41; Leclerc, Le Texas et Sa Revolution, Paris, 1840, pp. 68-69; 
Kennedy, Texas, etc., London. 1841, Vol. II, pp. 83-84; Foote, Texas and 
the Texans, Philadelphia, 1841, Vol. II, pp. 57-58; Maillard, The History 
of the Republic of Texas, etc., London, 1842, p. 77; Yoakum, History of 
Texas, I 320-21, 331-32; Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, II 
149; Brown, History of Texas, I 261-62. 

86 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

one acre of land or were in any way interested in the pur- 
chase of said land," A natural inference to be drawn from this 
statement would be that they got no land at all, which, of course, 
is untrue. To save Johnson's veracity, therefore, the possible ex- 
planation presents itself that no money passed in this deal, and that 
the contractors viewed themselves merely as empresarios, who were 
to get their premium by selling the lands to militia men. 

Johnson's own account of his presence at Monclova upon this oc- 
casion is interesting, but throws little additional light on the land 
speculations. He says: "Desiring to be present and witness the 
proceedings of the State Congress, Johnson, with Samuel M Wil- 
liams, Doctor Robert Peebles, Major Benjamin F. Smith, Colonel 
Green DeWitt, together with some Mexican scouts, left in the latter 
part of 1834 for the seat of government, Monclova, where they ar- 
rived in the early part of 1835. . . . [Here] we found Col- 
onel Benjamin R. Milam, Thomas J. Chambers, W. H. Steel, 
Haden Edwards, Jr., James Carter, and many other colonists. 
Here Johnson first made the acquaintance of Doctor James Grant, 
of Parras, Coahuila, who was a delegate, Doctor John Cameron, 
Messrs. Alney and Newlands; also that of David J. Toler, a most 
estimable gentleman. . . . General John T. Mason, of the 
United States, arrived about this time for the purpose of having 
confirmed a sale made by the Legislature or executive the year 

"Among the most important acts of this Congress was a decree 
authorizing the appointment of commissioners for Texas. . . . 
Under the decree George A. Nixon, George W. Smyth, and Charles 
S. Taylor, were appointed for Eastern Texas; Colonel Talbot 
Chambers, for Milam's Colony; Doctor Robert Peebles, for Austin 
and Williams' upper Colony ; and Johnson for Austin and DeWitt's 
colony. Bowie was appointed commissioner for General Mason's 
purchase. The State Treasury then being empty, the executive was 
authorized to sell a large quantity of the public lands of the State 
tc meet the current wants of the government; and another decree 
[was passed] placing at the disposal of the governor four hundred 
leagues for frontier defense and protection. These acts gave great 
offence to the Federal authorities, and the Congress declared them 
null and void. To this, the state authorities simply protested, and 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. g7 

left the matter to take its course, pursuing, however, the policy in- 
augurated/' 1 

News now arrived that troops were marching toward Mon- 
clova, and there was a hasty exodus of the Texans and other lobby- 
ists. Williams arrived at Bexar June 3 2 and Peebles and Johnson 
reached San Felipe a few days behind him. Williams, as we have 
already seen, had acquired with John Durst a hundred and twenty- 
four leagues under the law of March 14, 1835, and apparently de- 
voted himself principally to the sale of that grant, while Peebles 
and Johnson assumed the task of disposing of the four hundred 
leagues in which all three were interested. A hundred and twenty- 
one leagues of the Williams and Durst grant, as has already been 
shown, were soon sold, and Peebles and Johnson worked with equal 
celerity. By August 20, certificates had been issued to forty-one 
persons for the full four hundred leagues. Fifteen of the certifi- 
cates were issued by 'Johnson and the remaining twenty-six by 
Peebles. They merely state that Citizen So and So 'has volun- 
tarily entered the service of the state of Coahuila and Texas as a 
soldier for the term of one year, and Williams, Peebles, and John- 
son are by their contract authorized to receive his enlistment and 
designate a portion of the vacant land as a reward for the services 
which he will render, therefore they give their consent for him 
to select for himself such land as he likes usually ten leagues 
of it/ 3 Their contract to place a thousand men in the field was 
entirely ignored. 

3. The Effect of the Speculations Upon the Texans. 

The large grants of 1834 appear not to have attracted particular 
attention in Texas, but the deals of 1835 especially under the 
law of March 14 aroused great indignation. Little authority ap- 
pears, however, for the statement frequently met with in the his- 
tories of Texas, that the legislature thought the separation of Coa- 
huila and Texas imminent and determined to plunder the latter 
while there was yet time. The earliest expression of this theory is 

'Johnson's autobiography ( MS. ) . 

"Angel Navarro to Juan Zenteno, June 4, 1835, Bexar Archives; John- 
son's Autobiography (MS.). 
'Volume 34 of Titles in the General Land Office. 

88 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

in a pamphlet printed by T. J. Chambers in 1837, but 
in all the discussions aroused by the act of March 14, 1835, 
this explanation is absent. Austin, indeed, writing to D. C. Bar- 
rett, December 3, 1835, 1 declared the acts of 1834 and 1835 all of 
a piece with general Mexican policy, both National and State. The 
Mexicans, he said, considered the lands valueless this was evi- 
denced by the whole history of the colonization period, the treas- 
ury was empty, and the sale of the land promised the only relief. 
He blamed neither the legislators nor the speculators for the sale 
itself, but the sale certainly did illustrate the defectiveness of the 
government from the Texan point of view. 

The earliest expression of disgust with the wasteful policy of the 
government is found in The Texas Republican of May 9, 1835. 
An address from Governor Viesca, calling upon the people of Texas 
to rally to his assistance against Santa Anna, was printed in this 
issue, and the editor introduces it with the remark that he prints 
it as a news item solely, and not with the view of endorsing the 
governor's call for troops "to sustain him and a vile congress that 
have bartered our public lands for a mere song." In the same 
paper is also the answer of the political chief of the Brazos Depart- 
ment to the governor's appeal. He says: "The people view with 
equal horror and indignation the acts of the present State Congress 
who have manifested a determined disposition to alienate all the 
most valuable lands of Texas at a shameful sacrifice, and thereby 
utterly ruin her future prospects. The law of the 14th of March 
past is looked upon as the death-blow to this rising country. In 
violation of the General Constitution and laws of the Nation in 
violation of good faith and the most sacred guarantees Congress 
has trampled upon the rights of the people and the Government, 
in selling FOUR HUNDRED LEAGUES of land at private sale, 
at a price far below its value ; thereby creating a monopoly contrary 
to law and the true interests of the country." 2 Accompanying the 
governor's proclamation was a rather alarmist postscript signed 
by Coahuiltexanus, and Henry Austin, in referring to it, suggested 
that "this firebrand has been thrown among us to promote the 
views of designing speculators." 

'Archives of Texas, Records, Vol. 1, pp. 54-58, in the State Department. 
2 0ne hundred and twenty-four leagues of this amount was sold to Wil- 
liams and Durst. Who bought the rest is unknown. See page 82 above. 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 89 

After the dispersion of the legislature and the arrest 
of the governor by the federal troops, the political chief, 
J. B. Miller, called for volunteers to march to the latter' s relief. 
His proclomation was received in Columbia June 23, and the 
citizens immediately met to consider it. A writer in The Texas 
Republican of June 27, said concerning this meeting that however 
much the citizens might differ on some points they all agreed upon 
the necessity for union and organization. "One act of the late 
governor and congress," he continues, "is highly obnoxious, . . 
the selling of the public land. This shameful bartering . . . 
calls ... for the indignation of every patriotic citizen. If 
the purchasers could be induced to abrogate that sale, it would be 
like 'pouring oil upon the troubled waters;' it would secure union, 
organization, and success. But perhaps- this would be asking too 
much of poor, blind human nature, and perhaps they are yet des- 
tined to experience the fate of the boy, who in attempting to take 
preserves from the jar grasped so many that he could not extract 
his hand. After all, I fear (if dissension is to rise amongst us) 
that this will be the rock upon which we will split." The writer, 
however, was of the opinion that the measures of the general gov- 
ernment had been rather rigorous and were probably actuated by 
some motive other than the simple desire to quash the speculations. 
In any event, he thought that nothing could be lost by "union and 

This extract suggests the attitude of most Texans who were not 
entirely indifferent. General Cos had explained that the march of 
troops to Monclova was for the purpose of settling the quarrel be- 
tween that place and Saltillo concerning the location of the govern- 
ment, and of stopping the squandering of the public lands. The 
law of March 14, he said, was passed by the Federalists without, 
he erroneously declared, subjecting the sale of the four hundred 
leagues to the general laws with the object of pleasing the col- 
onists of Texas and securing their support against the Centralists. 1 
The comparatively small war party saw in this avowal merely a 
pretext to cover the real object of furthering Santa Anna's plan 
of Centralism, but most of the colonists took it in good faith and 

^Written by Cos from Matamoras in May, 1835. A clipping with no 
date from The Texas Republican, in the Austin Papers. 

90 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

were inclined to suspect that those who did not were implicated in 
the speculation. Against this disposition R. M. Williamson pleads 
earnestly in an address issued the 4th of July. He says, I have 
been your fellow-citizen for years, and you can not believe that I 
am influenced by speculation. On the honor of a man I assure you 
that I have all to lose and nothing to gain by the disturbances of 
our country; and I am in no way connected with the speculation 
or the speculators. . . . You are in the midst of a revolution 
that threatens your destruction. . . . You are lulled to sleep 
in the belief that speculation alone has created the present excite- 
ment. But . . . examine for yourselves the late movements 
of the general government, . . . and you will perceive that so 
far from speculation having anything to do with the present sub- 
ject,, that the troops of the general government are on their march 
to Texas, for the purpose of compelling you either to leave the 
country or submit to an imperial government with strong military 
stations in your country to awe and keep you in subjection. 
. . . The sale of the four hundred leagues of land has nothing 
to do with the subject. You are justly indignant at that sale 
. . . but that can and ought to have no weight with the public 
mind at this time. . . . General Cos writes to the command- 
ant at Anahuac that the two companies of New Leon and the 
Morales [Morelos] Battalion would sail immediately for Texas and 
that they would be followed by another strong force. . . . Colonel 
Ugartechea says that the business of Texas will be soon regulated, 
as the government has ordered a large division ... to Texas 
which are now at Saltillo; that force is three thousand four hun- 
dred men. 

For what, Fellow-Citizens, are they coming? In the name of 
God say not speculation; they are coming to compell you into 
obedience to the new form of Government; to compell you to give 
up your arms; to compell you to have your country garrisoned; 
to compell you to liberate your slaves; to compell you to swear to 
support and sustain the government of the Dictator; to compell 
you to submit to the imperial rule of the aristocracy, to pay tithes 
and adoration to the clergy." 1 

The other side is illustrated by a letter from T. J. Chambers of 

HDircular, printed by T. C. Gray. 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 91 

the same date. He said, "The simple facts are these : The admin- 
istration of the government of the state during the present year has 
been of the most shameful character. ... A law was obtained 
for the sale of four hundred leagues of vacant land and the most 
shameless acts of speculation were committed against the state and 
the interests of Texas. . . . The purchasers and those inter- 
ested in them and a few others who have been deceived by them are 
[responsible for] the reports which you have heard, and which I 
trust the colonists will pay no further attention to than to treat 
with contempt and indignation, etc. The movement of troops to- 
wards Texas has in my opinion no other object than to meet and 
counteract the revolution which the general government had grounds 
to believe would be attempted by those individuals/' 1 James Kerr, 
writing the next day to Chambers states the situation more forc- 
ibly. "At San Felipe," he says, "Williams, Johnson, Carbajal, 
Bowie, and others cry, 'wolf, wolf, condemnation, destruction, war, 
to arms, to arms !' Williams says, 'I have bought a few leagues of 
land from the government; but if they don't bring the governor 
to Bexar, I shall not be able to get my titles.' What a pity; and 
with his terrible tales I am astonished to see that they have had 
the cleverness to excite some persons of that colony to a high de- 
gree. . . . There is not in my opinion, in all the country one 
single person, with the exception of the interested ones, who would 
wittingly seek his own ruin in order to save thousands like Wil- 
liams and the others. But they have been able to deceive many 
persons and make them believe that an army is coming to destroy 
their property and annihilate their rights in Texas. . . . The 
inhabitants of La Vaca and Navidad are inclined to attend to their 
ranches and estates." 2 July 11, Edward Gritten wrote to General 
Cos that "All the inhabitants of Texas protest against the conduct 
of the land speculators, but they will unite themselves unanimously 

'Chambers to James H. C. Miller, July 4, 1835, in The Texas Republi- 
can, July 18, 1835. This is wholly inconsistent with a statement made 
by Chambers in 1837 to the effect that he came post haste from Monclova 
to warn the Texans of their danger and was unable to arouse them be- 
cause of the pacific influence exerted by the speculators, who had con- 
cluded that revolution would not be to their interest. Sketch of the life of 
Gen. T. J. Chambers, of Texas, p., 34 (described above). 

2 James Kerr to T. J. Chambers, July 5, 1835. Bexar Archives. Copy, 
translated into Spanish by Chambers. 

92 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

against the Mexicans." 1 This is in agreement with a letter from 
Travis to Andrew Briscoe, July 6. He says: "The 400 League 
Purchase and the authors of it will, I think, sink into insignif- 
icance. Public indignation is properly kindled against them.'* 1 

Stung by the direct attacks upon himself, Williams published a 
statement, July 20, explaining his attitude in the matter of the 
speculation. He had no agency, he declared, in the passage of the 
law of March 14, which seemed to arouse the greatest indignation ; 
there was no trickery about it, anyway. The treasury had not 
a dollar in it, and a speedy sale of some of the vacant land prom- 
ised the quickest relief; "precedent had been given by the previous 
legislature in decreeing the alienation of 400 leagues of public 
lands, and as the land had been disposed of and no opposition made 
to it by the General Government or by those most interested, the 
people of Texas," the expedient was resorted to again, 'though "it 
was generally esteemed to be impolitic." "General John T. Ma- 
son," he continued, "purchased last year, in the month of May or 
June 300 leagues, and no excitement was, or even has been created 
by that sale. As an individual I could not conceive that what was 
tolerated by the people of Texas in General Mason could in me be 
criminal, . . . and although I anticipated realizing a good 
profit on my investment, I never did intend that the holding of it 
should ever interfere with the improvement and advancement of 
the country." 3 

By the middle of August most of the Texans who thought about 
the matter at all had concluded that Santa Anna had other designs 
than the punishment of the land speculators in Texas, and greater 
unanimity was soon manifested in their call for a consultation.* 
And with the actual invasion of Texas and the meeting of the 
consultation the question passed into a new stage. 

4. The Abrogation of the Questionable Grants. 

A central executive committee called the "permanent council" 
was organized at San Felipe October 11, and on Sunday, the 18th, 

H3ritten to Cos, July 11. 1835. Bexar Archives. 

*Brown, Life of Henry Smith, 60. 

The Texas Republican, July 25. 1835. 

4 Resolutions of the jurisdiction of San Jacinto, August 8, 1830, in the 
Texas Republican, September 19, 1835; address to the committee of Co- 
lumbia, August 15, in The Texas Republican, August 22 and 29, 1835. 

Land Speculation ax a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 93 

General Sam Houston, a member of it, proposed a resolution rec- 
ommending that the consultation, when it met, should investigate 
and declare null all extensive grants of land made by the legis- 
lature under suspicious circumstances since 1833. 1 The resolution 
was adopted, and a thousand copies in handbill form were distrib- 
uted through the country. It was probably needed to convince 
many of the citizens that the war just beginning was not a ''spec- 
ulators' war," 2 but it naturally drew a protest from the interested 
persons. Thomas F. McKinney, especially, wrote that he thought 
the consultation would not have adequate judicial authority to do 
any such thing. There was nothing "crooked" about the grants, 
anyway, he said; "If you will inform yourself as to the manner 
and condition of those grants you will see it is nothing more or less 
than a colonizing contract, differing from those heretofore made 
because the empresarios have to pay a certain price for the priv- 
ilege of selling the lands to settlers. ... So far as I am in- 
terested I have said and again say I am willing to yield up my 
interest in that speculation if the least good to this community 
can be done by it. I have eight leagues of land in addition in this 
colony and the upper colony which I will cheerfully resign to the 
country's cause at what I have paid for it, which is nearly nothing. 
But to have a foot of land to which I conceive I have any claim 
trespassed upon and wrested from me without my own consent is 
what I oppose and protest against and will resist so far as I have 
the means of resisting." 8 

Before the protest was received the council had already, on the 
27th, passed a resolution closing the land offices and stopping all 
surveying until the meeting of the consultation, and, despite Mc- 
Kinney's -view of the matter, the consultation "solemnly declared 
null, void, and of no effect all grants, sales, and conveyances of 
land, illegally and fraudulently made by tile legislature of the 
state of Coahuila and Texas, located or to be located within the 
limits of Texas." 4 This, too, of course, raised a storm of disap- 

a THE QUARTERLY, VH 265, IX 287; Telegraph and Tew* Register, Octo- 
ber 26, 1835. 

*Royall to Austin, October 16, 1835, Austin Papers, K27. 

McKinney to Koyall, October 28, 1835, Archives of Texas, in the State 

*' Journal of the Permanent Council," in THE QUARTERLT, VH 273; 
Journals of the Consultation, 47. 

94 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

proval in interested quarters, but no attention was paid to it and it 
gradually subsided. The final snarl in the tangle, so far as this 
paper will follow the subject, was the declaration in the first con- 
stitution of Texas annulling the act of the legislature passed in 
1834 "in behalf of General John T. Mason, of New York, and that 
of March 14, 1835, "under which the enormous amount of eleven 
hundred leagues of land has been claimed by sundry individuals, 
some of whom reside in foreign countries, and are not citizens of 
the Kepublic." 

5. The Place of the Land Speculation in the Revolution. 

As to the part played by the speculators in the beginning of the 
revolution, contemporary opinion differs. By one we are told that 
the speculators for interested reasons prevented him from stirring 
the people up to their own defence. From another we have the 
contrary ; that the speculators stirred up all the agitation in Texas, 
iii order to shield themselves and save their grants. The truth 
seems to be that the speculators, who had spent some time in Mex- 
ico, had a keener sense of the danger from Santa Anna's plan of 
Centralism than their neighbors who stayed at home. When, there- 
fore, upon their return, they lost no time in sounding the alarm, 
their motives were easily misunderstood. And the indifference 
manifested by many Texans throughout the revolution was due, it 
seems probable, to this misunderstanding. It played some part, 
ao we have already seen, in the cool reception of Governor Viesca's 
appeal for assistance in May ; it probably delayed the calling of the 
general consultation, which began to be agitated in the latter part 
of June; and finally it caused many to hesitate in their support 
of the Texan volunteers in the fall of 1835. They believed that it 
was a speculators' war. 

The effect of the speculations was cumulative. A pretty brisk 
business of five years' duration raised scarcely a protest against the 
eleven-league grants, and Mason's large grant in 1834 attracted 
surprisingly little attention, but the laws of 1835, especially that 
of March 14, coming as the culmination of a wasteful agrarian 
policy disgusted and alienated many of the best citizens. One 
may, however, venture the opinion that neither the speculators nor 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution. 95 

the speculations had much to do directly with causing the revolu- 

It has been charged that interest in these speculations was the 
motive which drew many of the volunteers who came from the 
United States to the assistance of Texas. The writer has found no 
evidence to support such a charge. But in 1836 the Texans con- 
tracted several loans on the public land, and there is material to 
warrant the belief that those who advanced the money were ready,, 
if the revolution had continued long enough, to enlist volunteers 
for the cause. 

Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 


[According to a statement made by Asa Hoxey, president of the 
Washington Company, in a communication addressed to the com- 
missioners to locate the seat of government and dated November 
15, 1837, Washington "was laid out as a Town in the spring of 
1835." 1 The following documents, taken from the Texas Archives, 
give an account of the organization of the municipality, in July, 
1835. The jurisdiction of Washington was erected into a count} 
by the constitution adopted in March, 1836. E. W. WINKLER.] 


Petition of the Citizens of Washington Addressed to the Political 
Chief of the Department of Brazos, James B. Miller. 

To his Excellency 

James B Miller 

Your petitioners respectfully represent that during the last 
year they did Petition the Auy to of the Jurisdiction of Austin to 
be Sepperated from said Jurisdiction and to be organised, and to 
form a New Jurisdiction to be called the Jurisdiction of Washing- 
ton Said Petitioners set forth the limits of the said Jurisdiction 
and the place of holding the Corts, &c. All of which was ap- 
proved of and acted upon by said Ayu to and recommended through 
the proper channells to the Congress of the State for its action (as 
the Constitution and Laws provide) but owing to some cause un- 
known to your petitioners the application (documents) &c was not 
reed by the Congress in time to be acted upon 

Your petitioners being aware of the disorganised condition of 
the Government of the State and of the disorder with which it is 
surrounded 'and thereby of the uncertainty of its reorganiseation, 
deem it expedient to organise the said New Jurisdiction without 
any further delay. Your Petitioners being also aware of the ex- 

1 Seat of Government Papers. (MSS.) Texas State Library. 

Documents Relating to Municipality of Washington. 97 

traordinary powers confered upon your Excellency pray that you 
order an organiseation of said Jurisdiction immediately and 
thereby preserve order and union amongst the Inhabitants 
2 nd - day of July 1835 

Francis G Clampitt ( ?) 

Jno P Coles 
James Whiteside 
Shubael Marsh 
John J. Wyche 
Epps-D. Payne 
Asa Hoxey 
John Newell ( ?) 
James Clark 
Baldon Eobinson 
M. Cummins 
J. G. Wilkinson 
William W Hawkins 
Jesse B. Atkinson 
John H. Allcorn 
John P. Tompson 
James G. Swisher 
John Grahams 
Jacob Gross 
Isaac Thomas 
Isaac H ( ?) Hawkins 
Joshua Graham 
Thos G ( ?) Allen 
William H. Miller 


John W. Conner 

W A Hall 

J J Allcorn ( ?) 

E. D Jackson 

F. (?) Soop 
Win. W. Hill 
Wm Lewis ( ?) 
Ashby R Stevens ( ?) 
T G Evitt ( ?) 
James Moore 

J. B. Chanie ( ?) 
Elijah Allcorn 
G W Barnett 
John F Guthrie 
W. E. Allcorn 
T Chambers 
D T A Thomson 
Alfred M. Cooper 
Horatio Chriesman 
Stephen R Roberts 
Hiram Beales 
Thomas Dillard 

Another Copy of the Petition Addressed by the Citizens of Wash- 
ington to the Political Chief of the Department of 
Brazos, James B. Miller. 

[This document is a copy. It corresponds almost word for word 
*dth the forgoing petition, and bears the same date. The follow- 
ing signatures are attached to it :] 


Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

J M Splan 
David Trast. 
S Moris 
J H Wood 
Robt. J. Clow. 
H J Williamson 
M. T. Martin 
James Lynch 
Saml R Miller 
Bethel Morris 
John Lott 
Thos. S. Saul 
Moses Evans 


J. W. Simpson. 

Wm Copenhavn. 

Ches. J. Young 

J F Q Walkertson ( ?) 

Lewis Jones 

Samuel Henrey [or Kerney] 

James Gray 

Noah T ( ?) Byars 

James Balantine 

Peter M. Mercer 

Isaac Connelly 

Wm C Jones 

Memorandum Transmitted by the Political Chief of the Depart- 
ment- of Brazos, James B. Miller, to His Successor 
in Office, Wyly Martin. 

San Felipe July 19 1835 

I have permitted the jurisdiction of Washington to organize pro- 
visional} 7 every man in the jurisdiction has signed a petition re- 
questing said organization as their territory is extensive & this 
point too far, their petition passed through this Ayuntamiento 
to Govt and was not acted upon by the Govt last session, which 
caused great dissatisfaction, as soon as the Govt was again organ- 
ized I intended to report them in an organised condition and pray 
the Govt to legalize their proceedings as every man has signed the 
petition for this provisional organization no man can plead to 

the jurisdiction of the Courts 


J B Miller ' 

Documents Relating to Municipality of Washington 99 


Recapitulation of Votes taken for Municipal Officers, and Sheriff 
of the Jurisdiction of Washington, on Saturday 18 July, 1835. 





H. J. William- 

Josa. Hadley. 


Jesse Grymes. 








A. Mitchell. 

JOSH. Hadley. 

M. OummiDgs. 






























A. D. Klnnard. 

T. Dlllard. 
D. Balrd. 

At the town of Washington 
At house of Shub. Marsh... 
At house of Jas. Walker.... 
At house of Fitzgibbons.... 
At house of Chas. Garrett. 





















IH 4 

4 ... 


12 ".' 






At house of Asa Mitchell... 






















71 4 

Thos. S. Saul, Secy 

I, John P. Coles, do hereby certify, that having compared the 
within list of votes, from the returns from the several elections,, 
held on Saturday 18th July 1835 for the municipal officers and 
sheriff of the Jurisdiction of Washington, find that 

Jos a . Hadley had 160 votes as Alcalde 

Jesse Grymes had 178 votes as Eegidor 

Asa Mitchell had 165 votes as Regidor 

A. C. Reynolds had 116 votes as Syndico procurator 

Jno. W. Hall had 151 votes as Sheriff 

and being the highest number voted for the several offices are duly 


Washington 21 July 1835 

Jno P Coles 

by order of 
his Excellency 

J B Miller 

100 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 


The Ayuntamiento of Washington to the Political Chief of the 
Department of Brazos. 

Ayuntamiento of the Jurisdiction 
of Washington 28th July 1835 

To his Excellency Jas. B. Miller 

Actg. Govr. of the Province of Texas 


I have the honor respectfully to inform you, 
that this body have, by an unanimous resolution passed this day, 
nominated the following persons to fill the Offices of Judge & 
supernumeraries of this municipality 

Moses Cummings 
Jas Hall Sen r 
Shub: Marsh 
S. K. Roberts 

and respectfully refer the same to your dceisior. 

God & Liberty 
Joshua Hadley (Prst) 
Thos. S. Saul 


Notes and Fragments. 101 


MASSANET OR MANZANET. The name of the father of the Texas 
missions has always been given in the QUARTERLY the form "Man- 
zanet" as the equivalent of'"Manc.anet." This is on the authority 
of the Carta de Don Damian Manzanet a Don Carlos de Siguenza 
sobre el Descubrimiento de la Bahia del Espiritu Santo, published 
in facsimile in Vol. II, No. 4, the signature to which has been till 
recently the only example available for the editors. Without going 
into the history of the forms of writing the name, I will cite some 
further evidence that has a bearing on the question. 

In volume 182 of Seccion de Provincias Internas of the Archivo 
General y Piiblico, in the city of Mexico, there is a large collection 
of original materials many of them never yet used, even in the 
form of copies, I believe relative to the entrada of Domingo 
"Theran" into Texas in 1691-2. Among these are five letters written 
o.ver the name of the venerable missionary while he was in the 
wilds of Texas. Besides these signed papers there are two or three 
unsigned fragments in the same hand. In each of the five cases 
the signature is clearly "Damian Massanet." I have applied to 
the documents all the practicable tests to determine whether they 
are original or copies, and reach the conclusion that they are in 
all probability original, signed by the father himself. In this I 
have been assisted by my friend, Senor Tomas Alarcon, Paleogra- 
pher of the Archivo General, who shares my opinion. If we are 
correct, the question of the missionary's real name seems solved. 

I may note that the handwriting of text and signature of the 
documents in Mexico are the same, and unlike either the text or 
the signature of the "Manzanet" document cited above. 


In the south side of the Washington building, which is used by 
the city of Denison for a high school, is a simple white marble 
tablet bearing an inscription that notes a fact of which Denison 
should feel proud. The inscription reads : 

102 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

"The First Public Free School Building Erected in Texas." 

When one considers the youth of this bustling "Gate City" of 
North Texas, he is grateful for the foresight of those pioneers who 
in the midst of building the town found time and money to erect 
a free school building. Denison was begun in September, 1872, and 
ii) the following year plans were made for this school. 

Denison herself has been somewhat slow in appreciating the dis- 
tinction that is hers, but thanks to the members of the school board 
of 1905-6 she has come into her own, and through them this build- 
ing has been marked by the tablet. 

The tablet was unveiled April 20, 1906, by the class of '06, and 
on that occasion one of their members, Miss Pauline Everitt, gave 
a history of the -Washington School. It was printed in the Denison 
Daily Herald, April 21, 1906. OLLIE BIRD. 

Affairs of the Association. 103 



Exchanges and Historical Material. 

American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. Index to Pro- 
ceedings from 1812 to 1880 ; Salisbury Memorial ; Catalogue of 
Library; Proceedings, I-XVI; XVII, 2. 

American Catholic Historical Researches, I. J. Griffen, ed., Phil. 
-V, 4; VI, 1, 2, 4; VII, 1, 3; VIII, 1, 2; IX, 2, 4; X, 1, 2, 4; 
XVII, 1, 2, 3 ; XVIII, 2, 3 ; XIX, 2 ; XXI, 2, 3 ; New Series, I, 
3 ; II, 1, 2 ; Records, XVI, 4. 

American Catholic Historical Society. Records, XVI, 4; XVII, 
1. Antiquary, London, II, 3. 

Bangor Public Library, Bangor, Maine. Rare numbers of THE 

Bliem, Dr. M. J., San Antonio. Rare numbers of THE QUAR- 

Boston Athenaeum, Boston, Mass. Index to Catalogue ; History of 
Boston Athenaeum; Aspinwall Notorial Records; Forestier Rela- 

Boston Public Library, Boston, Mass. Bulletin, XI, 4, 6. 

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me. "History of Maine," by J. S. C. 
"Abbott ; Report of Boston Record Commission, II ; Smithsonian 
Contribution to Knowledge, I, II (1848 and 1851) ; Maine His- 
torical Society, I, II, IV, V, VI; Collections and Proceedings, 
I, 1-4; II, 1; VIII, 1-4; IX, 2-4; X, 1; Reports of Boston Rec- 
ord Commission in 30 volumes. 

Brown, Miss Lizzie C., Dallas. Rare numbers of THE QUAR- 

Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, 0. Historical Sketches of 25 
Churches, ed. by A. B. Cristy. 

Chicago Historical Society. Vols. I-IV of THE QUARTERLY. 

Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D. C. Records, IX 

104 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Columbia University, New York, N. Y. Political Science Quar- 
terly, XXI, 1; THE QUARTERLY,, VIII, 2; Records, I, II, pp. 

Connecticut Historical Association, Hartford. Collections, II- 

Cooper, Wm., Brookshire. Vols. I and II of THE QUARTERLY. 

Coopwood, Judge Bethel, San Antonio. "The Real Lincoln," by 
Chas. L. C. Minor. 

Dedham Historical Society, Dedham, Mass. Publications, as is- 
sued, and back numbers. 

Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D. C. Line- 
age Book, XVII; XVIII. 

Donaldson, Mrs. N. S., Georgetown. Rare number of THE QUAR- 

Dubose, J. C., ed., Birmingham, Ala. Several numbers of Gulf 
States Historical Magazine. 

Durrett, Reuben T., Louisville, Ky. Rare numbers of THE QUAR- 

' Edwards, Judge P. F., El Paso. Vols. I and II of THE QUAR- 
TERLY, and Vol. I, No. 1. 

Essex Institute, Salem, Mass. Historical Collections, XXXIII, 
1-12; XXXIV, 1-12; XLII. 

Filson Club, R. T. Durrett, pres., Louisville, Ky. Publications, 

Garcia, Senor Doctor don Genaro, Mexico, D. F. His "Docu- 
mentos para la Historia de Mexico." 

German Historical Society, Washington, D. C. Unbound publi- 
cations, I, 3; II, 1. 

Gocher, W. H., Hartford, Conn. His "Wadsworth." 

Hanrick, R. A., Waco. Rare documents. 

Harvard Universit}', Cambridge, Mass. Bound, Peabody Museum 
Report, I, II; Unbound, Arch, and Ethnol. Papers, I, 1, 3-7; 
III, 1-3; IV, 1; Quarterly Journal of Economics, XVI-XIX; 
XX, 2. 

Hildebrand, Hans, Stockholm. Antikvarisk Tidskrift, IX, 4; XI, 
6; XIII, 4; XV, 3; XVII, 4; XVIII, 1. 

Illinois Historical Society, Springfield, 111. Bound Publications, 
IX ; 20 volumes of State Department Reports ; unbound, 21 Re- 
ports of State Institutions. 

Affairs of the Association. 105 

Iowa Historical Department, Des Moines, Iowa. Bound, "Remin- 
iscences," by John Todd ; unbound, Annals of Iowa, 1, 1-8 ; IE, 
1-8; IV, 4; V, 8; VII, 3,5. 

Iowa Historical Society, Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa Journal of His- 
tory and Politics. 

Irving, Prof. Peyton, Cleburne. Rare numbers of THE QUAR- 

Johns Hopkins University Library, Baltimore, Md. Circular, 
new series, I, 1-3. 

Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas. Bound Publi- 
cations, I ; Transactions, IV- VIII ; Biennial Report of Board of 
Directors, IX-XIV; unbound, "The Fighting Twenty," by Elihu 
Root; "A Kansas Souvenir"; Biennial Reports, I, III, V-VIII. 

Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. Introduction to Records 
of Virginia county of London, by S. M. Kingsbury; Want list 
of American historical serials. 

Littlejohn, E. G., Galveston. Rare numbers of THE QUARTERLY. 

Long Island Historical Society, Brooklyn, N. Y. Bound, Me- 
moirs, I-III; Catalogue of Library (1893), unbound, Officers, 
etc. ; Manuscripts and early printed books. 

Louisiana Historical Society, New Orleans. Publications, III, 4. 

Lowber, Dr. J. W., Austin. Rare numbers of THE QUARTERLY. 

Lummis, C. F., Los Angeles, Cal. "Land of Sunshine," X, 5; 
XI, 1-4; XII, 3, 6; XIII, 2; XIV, 1; XV, 1-3. Out West, XVI, 
1-6; XVIII, 3-6; XIX, 1-6; XX, 1-6; XXI, 1-6; XXII, 1-6; 
XXIII, 1-6; XXIV, 1-4, 6. 

McLean Co. Historical Association, Bloomington, 111. Rare num- 

Madrid Real Academy de la Historia, Madrid. Bolotin, XLVIII, 
2-4, 5. 

Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Md. Bound, Archives of 
Maryland, ed. by W. H. Browne, I-V; VII; VIII; XII-XXV; 
five volumes, issued, 1885, 1891, 1884, 1887, 1892; unbound, 
Fund publications, I-XIV; XVI-XXIV; XXVI-XXXVII; 
Magazine, I, 1. 

Massachusetts State Library, Boston. Vols. I and II of THE 

Mexico Museo Nacional, Mexico. Anales, II, 11, 12; III, 1-4, 5. 

106 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Michigan University Library, Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan Po- 
litical Science Association, Publications, I, 1, 2, 4, 5 ; II, 8 ; III, 
4, 5, 6, 7, 8; V, 1, 2, 3, 4; VI, 1. 

Missouri Gazette. Copy from October 11, 1817. 

Missouri Historical Society. Collections, I, 5. 

Michigan State Library, Lansing, Mich. Bound volumes Mich. 
Pioneer and Historical Collections, I-XXIX, XXXI, XXXII; 
Index to I-XV. 

Mississippi Historical Society, Oxford, Miss. Bound Publications, 
VIII; unbound, I. 

New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass. Reg- 
ister, LVIII-LX; LX, supplement. 

New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, N. H. Proceedings. 
I ; II, 1-3 ; IV, 2, 4. 

New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, N. J. Proceedings,. 
Series 3, III, 2. 

New York Historical Society, New York, N. Y. "Treachery in 
Texas," by J. T. Sprague; "Uses of History," by John Hall; 
"N. Y. in 1850 and 1890," by Seth Low; "Life, Characters, and 
Writings of Verplanck," by W. C. Bryant; Charter, By-Laws, 
Officers; 8 pamphlets. 

New York State Library, Albany, N. Y. Ecclesiastical Records, 
V; VI (1905). 

New York State Historical Association, Albany, N. Y. Constitu- 
tion, By-Laws, and Proceedings, I-V. 

Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Neb. Special publi- 
cations; Transactions and Reports, I-V; Proceedings and Collec- 
tions, series 2, I-V. 

New York Public Library, New York, N. Y. Bulletin, X, 1, 3 r 

Northwestern Mining Journal, Seattle, Wash. Unbound Publi- 
cations, I, 1. 

Ohio Historical and Philosophical Society, Cincinnati, 0. Cata- 
logue of Torrence Papers ; Journal ; Catalogue of books relating 
to Ohio; Annual Report, 1905. 

Ohio Historical Society, Cincinnati, 0. Progress on the North- 
west, by W. D. Gallagher. 

Affairs of the Association. 107 

Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio. 

Bound Volumes, III, IV ; unbound, Quarterly, VII, 1 ; XIV, 

2, 4; XV, 1,2. 
Old Northwest Genealogical Society, Columbus, 0. Quarterly, 

IX, 1, 2; VI, 3; VIII, 3. 
Ontario Historical Society, Toronto, Canada. Papers and Rec- 

ords, III, VI. 
Oregon Historical Society, Eugene, Oregon. Quarterly, I, II, 

III, IV, V, VI. 

Peterson, C. A., St. Louis. Capture of James Wilson. 
Pilgrim Society, Plymouth, Mass. Proceedings. 
Pilot Knob Memorial Association, St. Louis, Mo. Annual Meet- 
ing, II. 

Pinckney, Miss Sue, Dallas. Rare numbers of THE QUARTERLY. 
Providence Public Library, Providence, R. I. Quarterly Bulletin, 

IV, 1. 

Quebec Literary and Historical Society, Quebec, Canada. Bound. 
"La Vie de J. F. Perrault"; unbound, Bulletins, T-II; Catalogue 
of Books; Transactions in 11 volumes; Historical Documents, 

Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, R. I. Publications, 
III, 1-4; IV, 1-4; V, 1-4; 1902-03; 1903-04. 

Royal Historical Society, London. Transactions, New Series, 

St. Louis Mercantile Library, St. Louis, Mo. Reference lists. 

South Dakota Historical Society, Pierre, S. D. "Early Empire 
Builders," by M. K. Armstrong; Collections, II. 

Southern Historical Association, Washington, D. C. Publica- 
tions, VIII, 6 ; X, 1, 2, 3. 

State Library, Austin. Rare numbers of THE QUARTERLY. 

Statsoekonomish Tidskdrift, Kristiana. Two unbound volumes. 

Stone, Cornelia Branch, G-alveston. Old numbers of THE QUAR- 

Sumpter, Jesse, Eagle Pass. "Reminiscences," dedicated to 
Harry Warren, Esq. 

Texas Library, Department of State, Austin, Texas. List of books 
received from July to December, 1905. 

Texas School Journal, Dallas, Texas. XXI, 10; XXIII, 5-9. 

Thomas, Miss Kate, Austin. Ra^e numbers of THE QUARTERLY. 

108 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Canada. Bound, "Canada and 
the Empire," by J. Van Sommer; "Protection and Prices," by 
Watson Griffin; unbound, "Anglo-Saxon Amity," by J. S. Willi- 
son; "First Bishop of Toronto," by Henry Scadding; "St. 
Paul's Chapel," by C. F. Wingate. 

Townes, Judge J. C., Austin. Rare numbers of THE QUARTERLY. 

Trinity College Historical Society, Durham, N. C. Annual Pub- 
lication, V, 1-4. 

Trinity College Library, Durham, N. C. South Atlantic Quar- 
terly, IV, 3 ; V, 2. 

United States Geological Survey, Washington, D. C. Bulletin, 

United States Department of State, Washington, D. C. Bulletin 
of the Bureau of Eolls and Library. 

United States War Department, Washington, D. C. Bound vol- 
umes, I-XIV, containing Annual Reports for 1904; I-IV, con- 
taining Annual Reports for 1905 ; unbound, Bulletins, 1-5, Bul- 
letins A. G. 0., 2 ; 21-23 ; 26 ; 35 ; 38. 

University College of Medicine, Richmond, Va. Bulletin, 2 :11. 

University of California, Berkeley, Cal. University chronicle, 
I, 1-6; II, 1-6; III, 3; IV, 3; VI, 4; VII, 1-4; VIII, 1-3; VIII, 
supplement. Arch, and Ethnol. Publications, 4; Preliminary 
Report of State Earthquake Commission. 

University of Chicago, Chicago, 111. Decennial Publications, I, 
3-9; X. 

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, 0. Record, II, 9, 11, 12, 
14; Studies, Second Series, II, 1. 

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo. Studies, III, 2. 

University of Nebraska Library, Lincoln, Neb. Three pamphlets ; 
Studies, II, 1, 2, 3 ; VI, 1, 2. 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn. Record, IX, 2. 

University of Texas, Austin, Texas. Literary Magazine, XVIII, 
3; Bulletin, 71; 72. 

University of Vermont Library, Burlington, Vermont. General 
catalogue, 1791-1900; Bulletin No. 32, 3:2; Vols. I and II of 

University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Studies relating to his- 
tory of Canada, 1898; 1898; 1900; 1901; 1903; 1904; 1905. 
Studies in History and Economics, 2:1. 

Affairs of the Association. 109 

Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va. Virginia Magazine of 
History and Biography, XIII, 4. 

William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Va. Quarterly, XIV, 

Wisconsin. State Historical Society, Madison, Wis. Bound, Collec- 
tions, II, III, XI, XII, XVI, XVII; Proceedings, 1903; 
Memorial (1901), ed. by R. G. Thwaites. Unbound, Annual 
Index to Proceedings, 1874-1901; Bulletin, 1874-1901; Bulletin, 
18; Extract from a report of Executive Committee. 


Bliem, Dr. Milton J., San Antonio. Five dollars. 

Blythe, W. H., Mt. Pleasant. Five dollars. 

Bryan, Guy M., Houston. Ten dollars. 

Bryan, Lewis R., Houston. Five dollars. 

Courchesne, Alfred, El Paso. Twenty-five dollars. 

Crane, R. C., Sweetwater. Ten dollars. 

Dealey, G. B., Dallas. Ten dollars. 

Davidson, W. S., Beaumont. Twenty-five dollars. 

Evans, Ira H., Austin, Texas. Ten dollars. 

Gillette, Daniel G., Dallas. Twenty-five dollars. 

Groos, F., San Antonio. Five dollars. 

Huston, Gerard, Paint Rock. Five dollars. 

Kelly, G. G., Wharton. Five dollars. 

Key, E., Marshal. Five dollars. 

Morehead, C. R., El Paso. Ten dollars. 

Newby, W. G., Fort Worth. Five dollars. 

Rhea, W. A., Jr., Dallas. Ten dollars. 

Richter, August C., Laredo, Texas. Twenty-five dollars. 

Sullivan, J. C., San Antonio. Five dollars. 

Taulman, Joseph E v Hubbard. Five Dollars. 

Wood, Judge W. D., San Marcos. Ten dollars. 

Smaller amounts have been received from Mr. B. J. Benton, 
Mr. J. C. Carpenter, Dr. M. Duggan, Mr. J. F. Etter, Mr. J. M. 
Fox, a friend in San Antonio, Mr. Yale Hicks, Mr. Jno. T. Me- 
Carty, Mr. Jno. S. McCampbell, and Miss Laura Reese. 

110 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 


THE QUARTERLY has received a pamphlet containing an account 
by John W. Sansom of the "Battle of Nueces River" of August 10, 
1862. Mr. Sansom was one of a band of Texas refugee Unionists, 
sixty-five in number, mostly Germans, who, while endeavoring to 
escape into Mexico, were overtaken at the Nueces River in Kinney 
County by a superior band of Confederates and almost annihilated. 

The author maintains that the attack was wholly unexpected and 
a piece of treachery on the part of the Confederate authorities, but 
he does not sustain the charges of wholesale butchery so frequently 
made by the Unionists. Altogether it is a very clear and satis- 
factory account of a much-beclouded affair. 

.CHAS. W. R. 

Breaking of the' Wilderness; The Story of the Conquest of the 
Far West, from the Wanderings of Cabeza de Vaca, to the First 
Descent of the Colorado by Powell, and the Completion of the 
Union Pacific Railway, with Particular Account of the Exploits of 
Trappers and Traders. By Frederick S. Dellenbaugh, Member of 
the Powell Colorado River Expedition; author of "The Romance 
of the Colorado River," "The North American Indians of Yester- 
day," etc. (New York and London: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 
1905. Pp. xxiii, 360.) 

What is probably the best thing about this book is the rather 
vivid impression it gives of the Far West and of the difficulties 
that had to be overcome by the explorers who first penetrated it. 
The impression is greatly aided by the excellent series of illustra- 
tions, most of which are made from photographs, and a consider- 
able part of the rest from sketches by the author and by others. 
Mr. Dellenbaugh has traveled extensively, as he says, along all 
"the principal historical trails" in the country with which his 
narrative deals, and he seems quite familiar with it. His descrip- 
tions have no small degree of the actuality that attaches to the 
view of an eye-witness, as, e. g., that of the mouth of the Columbia 
:as seen from seaward (p. 142). 

Boole Revieivs and Notices. Ill 

The author is also fairly familiar with the work of the principal 
explorers, and he gives the reader a good general impression of the 
process of wilderness breaking described in his book. It is, how- 
ever, apparent that he is not as familiar with the sources of West- 
ern history as with the physical aspects of the West. His failure 
to use the proper Spanish accents for such names as Cibola, 
Panuco, etc., suggests a lack of intimate acquaintance with the 
only language in which many of those sources are yet to be found. 
He holds to the discredited theory that the Espiritu Santo of 
Pineda was the mouth of the Mississippi (p. 104) ; he thinks that 
the Malhado of Cabeza de Vaca was Galveston Island, or some 
other island on the Gulf coast between that and the mouth of the 
Mississippi (p. 104), and, while he refers to THE QUARTEELY, he 
seems not to have read the articles by Judge Coopwood; in spite 
of the work of Frank Hamilton Gushing with which, by the way, 
he doesn't seem to trouble himself he refuses to believe that Cibola 
is to be identified with Zuni (p. 113) ; although he cites H. H. 
Bancroft, who gives good reasons for rejecting the story of Juan 
de Fuca, he doesn't question the story itself (p. 119) ; he repeats 
the baseless legend that the Spaniards made a settlement at San 
Antonio in 1692 (p. 134) ; he refers to Natchitoches as "a Span- 
ish post in Texas" (p. 182) ; and his entirely 'inadequate and mis- 
leading explanation of the Texas Eevolution is that "the Texans 
desired to have Texas a sovereign Mexican State, but a military 
government was proposed by the Mexicans" (p. 298). Such 
errors make it unsafe to depend on the book as an authority, but 
it will nevertheless xremain useful to the reader who is on his 
guard against them. G. P. G. 














Write for information. 

C. W. STRAIN, G. P. A., 





The constitution of the Association provides that "Members 
who show, by published work, special aptitude for historical 
investigation, may become Fellows. Thirteen Fellows shall be 
elected by the Association when first organized, and the body 
thus created may thereafter elect additional Fellows on the 
nomination of the Executive Council. The number of Fellows 
shall never exceed fifty." 

The present list of Fellows is as follows: 














The constitution provides also that "Such benefactors of the 
Association as shall pay into its treasury at any one time the sum 
of thirty dollars, or shall present to the Association an equivalent 
in books, MSS., or other acceptable matter, shall be classed as 
Life Members." 

The Life Members at present are: 




VOL. X. OCTOBER, 1906. No. 2. 

The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views 
expressed by contributors to THE QUAKTERLT. 



This sketch of the founding of Mission Nuestra Senora del 
Rosario for the Karankawan Indian tribes of the Texas coast coun- 
try was written as a by-product, so-to-speak, of a more extended 
task. It aims -merely to set forth the general conditions in northern 
New Spain that led to a renewed attempt, after one failure, to sub- 
due these tribes, and to a plan to colonize their territory and that 
along the coast to the southwest; to tell the story of the struggles, 
delays, and difficulties that attended the foundation of the mis- 
sion that was established as one of the agencies in their reduction; 
and to convey an idea of the kind and degree of success that at- 
tended the first few years of its existence. If the historical im- 
portance of the founding of this mission were measured by the 
magnitude of the establishment or its success as a spiritual under- 

the main subject of this paper there is nothing known to the 
writer in print, consequently he has had no guide for even the barest out- 
lines of the narrative. The materials used in its preparation are almost 
entirely manuscript records in the Archive General de Mexico and in the 
B6xar Archives. Unless otherwise indicated, the correspondence cited is 
contained in a collection of manuscripts in the Archive General (Secci6n 
de Historia, volume 287) entitled Autos fhos. apedimento. . . . \_de] 
Frai Benitto de Santa An [a] . . . que se le manden restitu [ir a la 
Mision de] Sn. Antonio que es a cargo de la Sta. Cruz de Querettaro los 
[con] bersos Indios de la Nation [Cujan] que se kalian agregados a [la 
mision] de Santa Dorothea. 1751-1758. Original. Folios 108. 

114 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

taking, it would, indeed, be small. But such is not the case, for the 
project of a Karankawan mission was an index of plans affecting an 
entire geographical region, and the story of its foundation reveals 
the motives underlying these plans and the conditions attending 
their execution. It is but fair to state that the circumstances of 
the preparation of the sketch have made necessarily brief the treat- 
ment of these broader considerations, and have determined its em- 
phasis upon the Spanish relations with the coast tribes and the 
inner history of the mission. 

1. The Karankawan Tribes About Matagorda Bay. 

When at the close of the seventeeth century the French and the 
Spaniards first attempted to occupy the Gulf coast in the neighbor- 
hood of Matagorda Bay, that region was the home of a group of 
native tribes now called Karankawan from their best known divi- 
sion. The principal tribes of this group, using the most common 
Spanish forms of the names, were the Cujanes, Carancaguases, 
G-uapites (or Coapites), Cocos, and Copanes. They were closely 
interrelated, and all apparently spoke dialects of the same language, 
which was different from that of their neighbors farther inland. 1 
Though the Carancaguas tribe has finally given its name to the 
group, it was not always the one best known to the Europeans or 
regarded by them as the leading one, for in the middle of the 18th 
century four of the tribes, at least, including the Carancaguas, 
were frequently considered collectively under the name Cujanes. 2 

As these Indians did not occupy fixed localities, and as they 
mingled freely with each other, it is difficult to assign definite 
territorial limits to the different tribes; and yet in a general way 

J The relation above asserted between these four tribes has not hitherto 
been established by ethnologists, nor do the scope and purpose of this 
article justify inserting here the evidence to prove it. Such evidence is 
not lacking, however, and will be published, it is hoped, in another place. 
The only essay in print on the Karankawan Indians is that by Dr. 
Gatschet, The Kararikawa Indians, in Archcelogical and Ethnological 
Papers of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Vol. I, No. 2, 1891.) 
Recent work in the Mexican and the Texas archives has made accessible a 
great deal of material unused by him. 

"Captain Manuel Ramirez de la Piszina, of Bahia del Esplritu Santo, 
calls them "the four nations, who, under the name of Coxanes, have been 
reduced. They are the Co janes, Guapittes, Carancaguases, and Copanes" 
(Letter to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 1751). This is only one of several in- 
stances of this usage of the word Cujanes that might be cited. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 115 

the characteristic habitat of each can be designated with some cer- 
tainty. The Carancaguases dwelt most commonly on the narrow 
fringe of islands extending along the coast to the east and the west 
of Matagorda Bay; the Cocos on the mainland east of Matagorda 
Bay about the lower Colorado River; the Cujanes and Gua- 
pites on either side of the bay, particularly to the west of it; and 
the Copanes west of the mouth of the San Antonio River about 
Copano Bay, to which the tribe has given its name. 

Numerically the group was not large. A French writer of the 
seventeeth century estimates the "Quelancouchis", probably mean- 
ing the whole Karankawan group, at four hundred fighting men, 
and the Spaniards, upon the basis of a closer acquaintance, in 1751 
put the number, excluding the Cocos, at five hundred fighting men. 1 

These tribes represented perhaps the lowest grade of native so- 
ciety in all Texas. Their tribal organization was loose, and their 
habits were extremely crude. With respect to clothing, they ordi- 
narily went about in a state of nature. Being almost or entirely 
without agriculture, they lived largely on fish, eggs of sea-fowls, 
and sylvan roots and fruits, although they hunted buffalo and other 
game to some extent in the interior. They led a roving life, and 
therefore built only temporary habitations, consisting usually of 
poles covered or partly covered with reeds or skins. The Caran- 
caguases, in particular, as has been said, dwelt on the islands; but 
during the hunting season and the cold winter months they mi- 
grated to the mainland. For these migrations they used canoes, 
which they managed with skill. Physically, the men were large and 
powerful, and they were correspondingly warlike. They were fre- 
quently at war with the interior tribes, and from their first contact 
with the whites they were regarded as particularly dangerous. Al- 
though their only weapons were the bow and the spear, 2 their island 
asylum and their skill with canoes made them unassailable in re- 
treat, while horses, early secured from the Spaniards, increased 
their offensive strength. From very early times they were regarded 
as cannibals, and their religious superstitions were commensurate 

*A m6moire of 1699, in Margry, Decouvertes et Etablissements, IV, 316; 
Captain Piszina, of Bahla, letter to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 1751. 

The "dardo" which they also used for catching fish (MeziSres to Croix, 
Oct 7, 1779, in Memories de Nueva Espana, XXVIII, 258). 

116 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

with their barbarity. Such Indians as these could hardly be called 
inviting material for the missionary. 

2. Failure of Early Spanish Efforts Among the Karankawan 


Although the Karankawan tribes were among the very earliest of 
the Texas natives to come to the notice of the Spaniards, and were 
visited by them again during the first attempts at actual occupa- 
tion of the country, efforts to control them were for some 
time delayed. The Caoques, or Capoques, met by Cabeza de Vaca 
on the Texas coast (1528-1534) are thought to have been identical 
with the Cocos of later times. 1 After this adventurer, their next 
white visitors were the French. La Salle's unfortunate colony 
(1685-9) on the Lavaca River had some of these tribes for neigh- 
bors, and was destroyed by them. It was among the Caocosi, the 
Cocos, very probably, that De Leon in 1690 rescued some captive 
survivors of this French colony. 2 Again, in 1721, the hostility of 
apparently the same tribes caused La Harpe to abandon his project 
of occupying the Bay of St. Bernard for France, and thus put an 
end to French attempts to control this coast. 3 

Up to this time the Spaniards had seen but little of the Karan- 
kawan Indians since the first entradas from Mexico more than a 
quarter of a century before, and had made no attempt to subdue 
them. But in 1722 the Marques de Aguayo established on the very 
site of La Salle's fort the presidio of Nuestra Senora de Loreto, 
more commonly called Bahia, and founded near by for the Cu janes, 
Guapites,- and Carancaguases the mission of Espiritu Santo de 
Zuniga. The presidio was left in charge of Captain Domingo 
Ramon, perhaps the same Ramon who had founded the second 
group of East Texas missions in 1716. Father Pena, 1 a member 

^andelier, The Journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (Barnes and 
Co. 1905), 72; Gatschet, The Karankawa Indians, 34; Hand-book of the 
Indians (Bureau of American Ethnology), I, 315. 

2 Velasco, Dlctamen Fiscal, Nov. 30, 1716, in Memorias de Vueva Espana, 
XXVII, 182. This statement is made by Velasco on the basis of De Le6n's 
own report. See Carta de Damian Manzanet (THE QUARTERLY, II, 301), 
and De Leon, Derrotero, 1690. 

*Margry, Decouvertes et Etablissements, VI, 354. 

4 Pefia's diary of the Aguayo expedition calls him Jos6 Ram6n, but au- 
thentic documents written at Loreto at the time of Ram6n's death call 
him Domingo Ram6n (Autos fechos en la Bahia de el espiritu Santo 
sobre. . . . muertes, 1723-1724. Original MS. Archive General. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 117 

of Aguayo's expedition, recorded at the time in his diary that "it 
was seen that they *[ these three tribes] were very docile and would 
enter readily upon the work of cultivating the earth and their own 
souls, the more because they live in greater misery than the other 
tribes, since they subsist altogether upon fish and go entirely without 
clothing." 1 By this utterance Pena proved himself either ignorant 
or defiant of history, a bad sociologist, and a worse prophet. 

In a short time forty or more families of Cujanes, Caranca- 
guases, and Guapites established their rancheria near the presidio, 
and others may have entered the mission; but scarcely had they 
done so before trouble began. In the fall of 1723 a personal quarrel 
arose between them and the soldiers. An attempt to punish an of- 
fending Indian resulted in a fight, the death of Captain Ramon, 
and the flight of the natives. 2 In a few weeks the Indians returned 
to make reprisals upon the lives and the goods of the soldiery a 
practice which they kept up more or less continuously for the next 
twenty-five yeans. 3 Whether or not the garrison was to blame for 
the origin of the ill feeling, as it was claimed they were, can not 
be stated, but at any rate they showed little skill in dealing with 
this warlike people. 4 

Discouraged by the hostility between the Indians and the sol- 
diery, the missionary at Espiritu Santo removed his mission some 
ten leagues northwestward to the Guadalupe River, and labored 
among the Jaranames and the Tamiques, 5 non-coast tribes, of a 
different language, hostile to, and having a somewhat higher civil- 
ization than the Karankawans. 6 Shortly afterward the presidio was 

*Diary, in Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIIII, 57-58. 

*A.utos sobre muertes, etc., 1723-1724. 

"Ibid. In 1728 Rivera reported that the Cujanes, Cocos, Guapites, and 
Carancaguases were hostile to Bahla (Proyecto, Tercero Estado, Par. 42). 
In 1730 Governor Bustillo y Zevallos wrote to the viceroy that a treaty 
had been made with Cujanes, Guapites, and Carancaguases, and that he 
hoped that the Copanes and Cocos would soon join them (Letter of Nov. 
29, 1730). Testimony given at Bahla Nov. 20, 1749, states that Captain 
Orobio y Basterra had succeeded for some time in keeping the Cocos 
Cujanes, and Orcoquizas quiet (B6xar Archives, Bahla, 1743-1778). 

*Bancroft (North Mexican States and Texas, edition of 1886, I, 631), on 
the authority of Morfi, lays the blame upon the soldiers. So did Governor 
Almazan, who investigated the trouble in 1723 (Autos sobre muertes, 

'Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, edition of 1886, I, 631. 

"Father Juan de Dios Maria Camberos, missionary at Bahla, wrote to 
the viceroy May 30, 1754, that "these Indians already mentioned [the 
Cujanes, Guapites, and Carancaguases] do not wish >.to leave the neigh- 

118 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

removed to the same site by Captain Ramon's successor. 1 The 
new location is apparently marked by modern Mission Valley, 
west of the Guadalupe and near the northwestern line of Victoria 
county. 2 

Though the presidio and the mission had retreated from their 
midst, the Karankawan tribes remained hostile, and after Rivera's 
inspection, in 1727, there was little prospect of subduing them. 
Rivera's reports between 1728 and 1738 show that he regarded the 
Cujanes, Cocos, Guapites, Carancaguases, and Copanes all incapable 
of being reduced to mission life, 3 and that it was for this reason, 
mainly, that he considered projects for removing the presidio 
and the mission of Bahia now to the San Marcos, now to the San 
Antonio, and now to the Medina. A missionary at San Antonio 
wrote in 1751 that "the Cujanes were for some thirty years con- 
sidered irreducible, and (according to various reports to be found 
in the Secretaria de Govierno), because irreducible, they were the 
principal obstacle to the presidio of la Bahia." A little earlier he 
had written, "In truth, since the year 1733, when I came to this 
province, I have never heard that one of these Indians has attached 
himself to that mission (Espiritu Santo)."* 

borhood of la Bahia del Espiritu Santo, where their lands are, nor is it 
proper that they should be put with the Jaranames and Tamiques, who 
are in the mission called Espiritu Santo at said Bahia, since they are of 
different languages, incompatible dispositions, and do not like to be in 
their company." Soils, in his Diario (1768), reports that the Jaranames 
and their associates are "en mas politica" than the Karankawans (Me- 
mories de Nueva Espana, XXVII, 265 ) . 

Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I, 631, on the authority of 
Morn, Mem. Hist. Tex., 195. The presidio was removed after Apr. 8, 
1724, and apparently before the close of Governor Almazan's term in 1726, 
but I have been unable to determine the exact date. 

This new site was later reported as fourteen leagues northwest from 
Bahia del Espiritu Santo (Report of Captain Orobio y Basterra, of Bahia, 
1747) and about ten leagues northwest of the later site of Bahia, or mod- 
ern Goliad (Capt. Manuel Ramirez de la Piszina to the viceroy, Feb. 18, 
1750). Mr. H. J. Passmore, of Goliad, informs me that at the lower end 
of Mission Valley, and close to the Guadalupe River, "near some slight 
falls, or what some think was an old dam in the River, and near what 
was known as the 'De Leon Crossing,'" there were, within the memory 
of the old settlers, some fairly well preserved ruins of a mission, whose 
name none in his locality can tell him. The distances of this point from 
the original site of Bahia and from Goliad correspond very well with 
those given above. 

8 Santa Ana, president of the Quergtaran Missions at San Antonio, to 
the viceroy, about May 22, 1752. 

'Letters to the viceroy, June 17 and Dec. 20, 1751. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 119 

Thus, with the exception of a few families of Cu janes and a few 
of Cocos who had found their way into the San Antonio missions, 
by 1750 no progress had been made toward converting or even sub- 
duing these Karankawan tribes. But now conditions in the prov- 
inces and the plans of the government led to a renewed and more 
successful attempt. 

3. New Plans for the Coast Country. 

For some time the missionary field in Texas had tended rather 
to contract than to expand : but toward the middle of the eighteenth 
century a new wave of missionary activity made itself felt not only 
in this province, but in the whole coast country north of Panuco. 
It was in a way a response to increased Indian troubles on the 
north Mexican frontier and to increasingly bold intrusions of the 
French among the northeastern tribes; and, although we must not 
underrate the zeal that still burned in the breast of the Franciscan 
friar, it is but truth to say that the dominant force behind this new 
missionary movement was mainly political the desire to subdue 
unoccupied territory, protect the settlements, and to keep a con- 
trolling hand upon the frontier tribes to prevent them and their 
country from falling to a rival power. In Texas this activity showed 
itself in the plans for the coast country about to be described, and 
in the foundation of a number of new missions elsewhere for tribes 
hitherto neglected but now demanding attention. Among these 
missions were the three founded (about 1747) on San Xavier River 1 
northeast of Austin, for tribes mainly of the Tonkawan group; 
Nuestra Seiiora de la Luz, (about 1756), on the lower Trinity 
River, for the Vidais and Orcoquizas; the mission at San Saba 
(1757) for the Lipan Apaches; San Lorenzo and Candelaria 2 
(1762), south of San Saba, likewise for the Apaches; and possibly 
others. During this period, also, plans were considered, though 
unrealized, for missionizing the Towakana tribes of the Brazos, 
and the Yscanes farther to the northeast. 3 It has been customary 

1 San Xavier, Candelaria, San Ildefonso. 

"Founded in January and February, 1762. Expediente, sobre estableci- 
mento de Misiones en la immediacion del Presidio de Sn. Savas (Archive 
General), 94, 103, 112. 

a Testimonio de los Diligencios practicados ... sobre la reduction 
de los Tndios Tehuacanas e Tscanis a Mision, 1761-1763 (Bexar Archives). 

120 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

to suppose that these missions were all failures, compared even 
with the standard of success attained by the earlier ones; but until 
the facts of their history are better known judgment may well be 
suspended. Certain it is that, the more we know about the regime 
of the Spaniards in these northern provinces, the more we discover 
that they had and did here, and the more charitable we become in 
judging their ultimate failure. 

The founding of mission Kosario, as well as those enumerated 
above, was also part of this revived missionary movement, but 
more specifically, part of a plan to colonize and missionize the 
whole gulf coast country from Panuco to the San Antonio Eiver. 
This region had been the longest neglected stretch of coast country 
round the entire Gulf of Mexico. It had become a retreat for 
Indians who troubled the interior provinces of Nuevo Leon and 
Coahuila, and the southern portion of it was suspected of having 
valuable mines. The government at Mexico decided, therefore, to 
subdue it by conquest, colonization, and missions. The person ap- 
pointed to undertake this work was Jose de Escandon, one of the 
ablest men in Mexican history, who, some time before, had been 
made Count of Sierra Gorda for his notable pacification of that 
region. His appointment to the new commission dated from Sep- 
tember 3, 1746. The territory assigned for him to subdue and 
colonize was called Colonia del Nuevo Santander, and extended 
from Panuco to the San Antonio River. 1 

Had the colonization of all New Spain been left to the care of 
men with Escandon's views and ability, the results of Spain's ef- 
forts would doubtless have been much greater than they actually 
proved to be. He was a firm believer in the superiority of civil 
pueblos over military garrisons or even missions as a means of sub- 
duing natives and securing new territory; and an essential feature 
of his plan for Nuevo Santander was to have the settlements of 
Mexican colonists sufficiently numerous and prosperous to make 
possible within a few years the withdrawal of the garrisons. 2 

In 1746 and 1747 Escandon personally inspected the country to 

Bancroft, Mexico, III, 332- 342; Reconocimiento del Seno Mearicano 
hecho por el Theniente de Capn. Oral. Dn. Joseph de EscandGn, 1746-1747 
(MS.), in the Archive General. 

"Escant^n's report to the viceroy of Oct. 26, 1747, and of July 27, 
1758. MSS. in the Archive General. 

The Founding of Mission Eosario. 121 

and along the Rio Grande, while under his instructions Captain 
Joaquin de Orobio y Basterra, commander at Bahia, in Texas, ex- 
amined the region from the Guadalupe to the Rio Grande. Their 
reports contain the first detailed information that we have concern- 
ing the natives and the topography of many parts of this extended 
area. As an illustration, it may be noted that hitherto it was sup- 
posed that the Nueces River emptied into the Rio Grande. In conse- 
quence of these inspections Escandon recommended moving the mis- 
sion and presidio from Bahia to a site on the lower San Antonio 
called Santa Dorotea (near modern Goliad), and projected the 
foundation of fourteen Spanish villas in the territory under his 
charge. One of these was to be villa de Vedoya, composed of fifty 
families, and situated at the mouth of the Nueces near the site of 
modern Corpus Christi. Adjacent to the town was to be the mis- 
sion of Nuestra Senora de el Soto, to minister to the Zuncal, Pajase- 
queis (or Carrizos) Apatines, Napuapes, Pantapareis, and other 
tribes of the vicinity. Another of the fourteen towns was to be 
villa de Balmaceda, established with twenty-five families at Santa 
Dorotea. 1 The successful establishment of this villa would, he 
believed, make possible the suppression of the presidio of Bahia in 
three or four years, and thus remove the chief ground for hostility 
on the part of the coast Indians. 2 

The plans for the southern half of the territory met with a large 
measure of permanent success. It was at this time that Laredo, 
Camargo, Reynosa, and several other settlements were founded 
along and south of the Rio Grande. That the outcome in the north- 
ern half was different was not the fault of Escandon. In accordance 
with his plan, the presidio of Bahia and the mission of Espiritu 
Santo were in 1749 moved some ten leagues southwest to Santa 
Dorotea ; but the families sent to settle on the Nueces, fearing harm 
from the Indians, backed out, and were allowed to return and found 
instead the present town of Soto la Marina ; while the plan to estab- 
lish villa de Balmaceda failed because at the fiscal's instance Escan- 

l Reconocimiento del Seno Mexicano, folios 40-44, 85, 88, 110, 216; also 
Valcarcel to the viceroy, Feb. 1, 1758. The tribal names here given are 
those reported by Orobio y Basterra for the vicinity of the Nueces. I 
have not thus far attempted to identify the tribes with those of the region 
going under better-known names. 

'Report of Escand6n, Oct. 26, 1747; Valcarcel to the viceroy, Feb. 1, 

122 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

don was refused the requisite funds. Had the government sup- 
ported Escandon in this and his subsequent efforts to plant colonies 
between the San Antonio and the Rio Grande, there seems no good 
reason why the Spanish hold might not have been made as secure in 
this region as it was beyond the Rio Grande. 1 But this it failed 
to do. 

Nevertheless, the removal of Bahia to Santa Dorotea was fol- 
lowed by an effort to revive missionary work among the Karan- 
kawan tribes which resulted in the successful establishment of mis- 
sion Rosario. 

4. The Quarrel Between Queretarans and Zacatecans Over the 


On April 14, 1750, the viceroy exhorted the missionaries at the 
new site to do all in their power to reduce,. congregate, and convert 
the Cujanes, Carancaguases, and Guapites. They were to be treated 
with the utmost kindness, given presents, and promised, on behalf 
of the government, that if they would settle in a pueblo they 
would be given new missions, protected, and supplied with all neces- 
saries. 1 Similar instructions were written to Captain Manuel 
Ramirez de la Piszina, the new commander of the presidio of Bahia. 

If we may trust the reports of the missionaries and the cap- 
tain, they went zealously to work among these three tribes in 
response to the viceroy's order. But little or nothing seems to have 
been accomplished until their rivals, the Queretaran friars at San 
Antonio, entered the same field. 3 

At this time the Queretaran missions at San Antonio were short 
of neophytes, partly because of an epidemic that had made ravages 
among the mission Indians. 4 On the other hand these missions 
were just now under the direction of Father Fr. Juan Mariano de 
los Dolores, one of the leaders of the missionary revival which we 
have mentioned. For these reasons, and since the Karankawans had 

*Cf. Escand6n's report, July 27, 1758, again urging the colonization of 
this whole strip of country. 

"Summary by Camberos, missionary at this time in Bahia. 

3 Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 1751 ; Camberos to the viceroy, May 30, 

'Father Dolores, missionary at San Antonio, to Father Gonzales, mis- 
sionary at Espfritu Santo, June 17, 1751. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 123 

long been without mission influence, the Queretarans entertained 
the plan of gathering them, especially the Cu janes, 1 into their par- 
ticular fold. Whether the idea originated with Father Santa Ana, 
former president of the San Antonio missions, but now in Mexico, 
or with Father Dolores, his successor now on the ground, does not 
appear ; but it is through Santa Ana that we first learn of the pro- 
ject, while it was the latter who put it into execution. Early in 

1750, in a private communication to Altamira, the auditor general 
of the viceregal government, Santa Ana made known the plan, in- 
timating that he feared objections from the Zacatecan friars at 
Espiritu Santo, on the ground that the Karankawan tribes had once 
been assigned to that mission. 2 He doubtless knew, too, that the 
Zacatecans had recently been ordered to renew efforts on the coast. 
Altamira approved the project, saying that so long as these Indians 
remained in the forest they belonged only to the Devil, and that 
any one who wished was free to try his hand at winning them to the 
Lord. 3 

The actual work from San Antonio was undertaken by Father 
Dolores with the aid of Fray Diego Martin Garcia. Before entering 
the field he first asked the consent of the principal missionary at 
Espiritu Santo, Fray Juan Joseph Gonzales. 4 Gonzales replied that 
such a procedure would be satisfactory to him, and that he would 
waive whatever right his mission possessed to these Indians. 5 

The way was made easier for Dolores by the presence of the few 
Cujanes and Cocos previously mentioned as being at one of his 
missions. 6 Knowing by experience, as he said, "that presents were 
the most effective texts with which to open the conversion of sav- 
ages," he began the revival by sending to the Cujanes, early in 

1751, a Coco mission Indian bearing gifts, 7 and a promise that a 
missionary would be sent to them. 8 

l The plan evidently had in view the "Puxanes and others clear to the 
Rio Grande del Norte" (Santa Ana to the viceroy, Jan. 31, 1752). 

"Santa Ana to the viceroy, Dec. 20, 1751. 


*His request was apparently made in 1750. Santa Ana to the viceroy, 
undated, but about March 22, 1752. 

"Santa Ana to the viceroy, Dec. 2, 1751; Gonzales to Dolores, Apr. 13, 
1751; Dolores to Santa Ana, Oct. 26, 1751. 

6 Santa Ana to the viceroy, Dec. 20, 1751. 

TDolores to Gonzales, June 17, 1751. 

"This pomise is inferred from Santa Ana's letter of Dec. 20, 1751. 

124 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

In spite of the assurance that had been given to Dolores by Gon- 
zales, this move of the former led very speedily to a politely worded 
but none the less spirited dispute between the two. In the competi- 
tion that attended the dispute Espiritu Santo had decidedly the 
advantage of geographical position. The .Cu janes were pleased 
with the evidence of good will or better, perhaps, with the pros- 
pect of more gifts and, without awaiting the arrival of the prom- 
ised minister, fifty-four adults 1 set out for San Antonio to confer 
with Dolores. When on April 8 they reached the neighborhood of 
Santa Dorotea, or New Bahia, they were seen by some mission In- 
dians. These warned Captain Piszina that hostile Cujanes were 
near by killing mission cattle. A squadron of soldiers and Indians 
was accordingly sent out, and the Cujanes, after a slight show of 
fight, were taken to the presidio, and here they remained, notwith- 
standing their previous intention to go to San Antonio. 2 Gon- 
zales and Piszina claimed that the Cujanes were told that they 
might continue their journey, that no force was used to keep them 
at Bahia, and that it was only with misgivings and after delibera- 
tion that their request to be allowed to remain at the mission was 
granted. 3 But Dolores believed that if not force, then persuasion, 
had been used to rob him of the fruits of his efforts. 

With a forbearance that might be called commendable, however, 
he held his peace, and made another attempt, which likewise re- 
sulted more to the advantage of the rival mission than of his own. 
Some of the Cujanes had returned from Bahia to their country and 
gathered ninety-five more Indians "of the Cujan, Copanes, Gua- 
pites, and Talancagues tribes." On their way they stopped at 
Bahia, left their women and children, and went back to gather a 

1 In his letter to the viceroy Dec. 26, 1751, Captain Piszina calls them 
"fifty- four Indians of the Coxan nation"; but in the same letter he says 
that the four recently reduced tribes going under the name of Coxan are 
the "Cojanes, Guapittes, Carancguases, and Copanes." Hence we may in- 
fer that these fifty-four were not exclusively Cujanes, although they were 
called by this name. 

2 Gonzales to Dolores, Apr. 3, 1751; Dolores to Santa Ana, Oct. 26, 1751; 
Santa Ana to the viceroy, Dec. 20, 1756; Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 
1751. Piszina said that they were taken to Bahia at the end of March, 
but Gonzales's letter of Apr. 13 is more reliable for the date, because 
nearer the event and more explicit. 

3 Gonzales to Dolores, Apr. 13, 1751; Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 
1751. This last assertion casts doubt upon any claim the Bahia authori- 
ties might make to have previously tried to take these Indians there. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 125 

larger number of their people, with the intention, Dolores under- 
stood, of going on with them to San Antonio. He thereupon sent 
a number of mules laden with such supplies as might be needed by 
the Indians on their way. 1 Shortly afterward a Coco arrived re- 
porting that one hundred and five families were already collected 
near Old Bahia and that more were gathering, but that, unless 
horses were sent at once to transport them, they would be diverted 
to Bahia, just as the first band had been, there to remain. Dolores 
now lost no time in despatching Fray Diego Martin with horses and 
a Coco guide to assist in bringing in the Cujanes and their friends. 2 

In a note written soon after this, Gonzales claimed that these 
Indians desired to remain at Bahia. 3 Thereupon Dolores entered a 
vigorous protest. He reminded Gonzales that he had once waived his 
right to the coast Indians, but was now enticing them to Espiritn 
Santo; that but for him (Dolores) the Cujanes and the rest would 
still be in the woods and at war with the Spaniards, as they had 
always been ; that if after many years the Espiritu Santo mission 
had failed to subdue the Jaranames, whom they still claimed the 
right to monopolize, they could hardly expect to succeed with the 
additional task of subduing the Cujanes. Disclaiming a wish to 
quarrel, he requested Gonzales to find out for certain, by whatever 
means he chose, whether these Indians preferred to be at Bahia or 
at San Antonio, and promised to abide by the result, with these 
conditions, that in case they wished to come to San Antonio they 
must not be hindered, and that if they remained at Bahia he would 
send in a bill for the supplies he had given them. 4 

Dolores was now called to the missions at San Xavier, and when 
he got back he found new cause for displeasure with the author- 
ities at Bahia. In his absence Fray Diego Martin had returned 
with twenty-four Indians of the four tribes and the rather flimsy 
report that he might have brought five hundred had it not been for 
their fear that they would be prevented by the soldiers and mission- 
aries at Bahia from going to San Antonio. Meanwhile none of the 
families who had stopped at Bahia had appeared in San Antonio; 

Dolores to Gonzales, June 17, 1751. 

'Gonzales to Dolores, May 22, 1751, referred to in Ibid. 

126 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

consequently, again conceding the point backed by the better argu- 
ment of possession, Dolores advised the twenty-four to go to their 
friends at Bahia. But, by no means giving up his claim, he ap- 
pealed both to the discretorio of his college and to Santa Ana for 
authority to bring the Cu janes to his missions. 1 

Santa Ana took up the matter vigorously with the viceroy, with 
Andreu, the fiscal, and with Altamira, the auditor. He wrote let- 
ters, furnished documents, and sought personal interviews in de- 
fense of the rights of his college. He argued that until Dolores had 
pacified them the Karankawan Indians had always been hostile; 
that the Queretarans friars had been robbed of the fruits of their 
efforts by the Zacatecans, who had done nothing except to spoil a 
good work well begun; that by thirty years of idleness the latter 
had forfeited all the rights they ever had to the Karankawan field ; 
and that nothing could be expected of them in the future. 2 In view 
of these considerations, he earnestly recommended that the work of 
converting these tribes might be entrusted to the Queretarans. 3 

On the other hand, appeal was made to law 32, title 15, book I, 
of the Recopilacion de Indias, which provided that when one re- 
ligious order had begun the conversion of a tribe it should not be 
disturbed by another. And thus the dispute went on until the end 
of 1752, when it was closed in effect by the fiscal's compromise de- 
cision that under the peculiar circumstances joint work among the 
tribes in question would be lawful and equitable, and by the vice- 
roy's exhortation of all parties to cooperate in the work of saving 
Karankawan souls for the glory of 'both majesties/ 4 

5. Progress With the Cujanes at Espiritu Santo. 

Meanwhile, the possession of the Cujanes and the others had 
proved a very temporary advantage to the Espiritu Santo mission, 
and even during that short time these "first fruits and hostages of 
all that Gentile race" had added little to the mission's glory. While 
the Indians were there the missionaries succeeded in baptizing 
fifteen in articulo mortis; the rest deserted within a few weeks, 

1 Dolores to the discretorio, undated; to Santa Ana, Oct. 26, 1751. 
2 Santa Ana to the viceroy, Dec. 20, 1751; Jan. 31, 1752; March 22. 

'Dictamen fiscal, Oct. 2, 1752; Auditor's opinion, Oct. 9, 1752; Viceroy's 
decree, Oct. 10, 1752. 

The Founding of Mission Eosario. 127 

so that at the end of 1751 none appear to have remained. 
To make matters worse, relations between the tribes and the Span- 
iards again became strained through the unexplained killing of five 
Cujanes by their hosts. 1 

Altamira had at first favored Santa Ana's proposal to take the 
Cujanes to San Antonio. But when conflicting reports and news 
of the desertion of the Indians reached him he lost his patience and 
delivered himself of a generous amount of ill-natured truth about 
mission history, at the same time showing his hearty sympathy 
with Escandon's policy of settlement as a complement to the mis- 
sion and as a substitute for the garrison. "All the foregoing," he 
said, "but illustrates how, in this as in all like affairs of places at 
such long and unpeopled distances, come inopportune and irregular 
letters, proposals, representations, and petitions, that only leave 
the questions unintelligible. Thus in his report the captain [Pis- 
zina] begins by saying 'In obedience to Your Excellency's superior 
order,' without saying what order, or without specifying what he 
considers necessary for the conversion of the Indians in question. 
This conversion he assumes as assured simply because a few of them 
have submitted, when he can not be ignorant of their notorious in- 
constancy. And Kev. Padre Santa Anna, who had experienced 
this inconstancy, on Dec. 20 plead the cause of these same Cu- 
janes, only to report forty days after (on Jan. 31, of this year) that 
the occasion had passed because all of the Indians had deserted. 
This is what happens daily on those and all the other unsettled 

"The same will be true two hundred years hence unless there be 
established there settlements of Spaniards and civilized people to 
protect, restrain, and make respectable the barbarous Indians who 
may be newly congregated, assuring them before their eyes a living 
example of civilized life, application to labor, and to the faith. 
Without this they will always remain in the bonds of their native 
brutality, inherited for many centuries, as happens in the missions 
of the Rio Grande, of [East] Texas, and all the rest where there 
are no Spanish settlements, for the Indians there, after having 

^Dolores to Santa Ana, Oct. 26, 1751; Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 
1751 (Piszina, referring to the fifty-four, said they remained two and one- 
half months) ; Santa Ana to the viceroy, Jan. 31, 1752. 

128 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

been congregated fifty years or more, return to the woods at 
will." 1 

Notwithstanding the unflattering outcome of the enterprise thus 
far, the missionaries and the captain at Bahia, roused into activity 
by their rivals, continued their efforts to cultivate friendship with 
their traditional enemies, and, although conversions were few, they 
were otherwise comparatively successful. 2 During the next two 
years they spent considerable sums from their own pockets for pres- 
ents and supplies, and Piszina made the occasion an excuse for 
asking the government for more soldiers, more money, and more 
missionaries. Writing in Dec., 1751, he said that the recent 
friendly attitude of the coast Indians, though favorable to mis- 
sionary work, also increased the expenses and made more workers 
necessary, for the four tribes included under the name Coxanes 
would comprise five hundred warriors besides their families. More- 
over, their conversion would make more soldiers necessary, since 
they were really more dangerous at peace than at war; for besides 
being treacherous themselves, the unfriendly Indians on the coast 
would visit their relatives at the mission and thus learn the weak- 
ness of the garrison. While, therefore, more missionaries and more 
supplies would be necessary before these tribes could be converted, 
their reduction would require an increase of soldiers to guard the 
Spaniards against the treachery of the neophytes and against their 
friends still upon the coast. Within two years Piszina made three 
such appeals to the viceroy. 3 

' 6. The Plan to Transfer the Ais Mission to Bahia. 

By the end of this time the local authorities conceived the idea 
of founding a separate mission especially for the Cu janes and their 
friends, as a substitute for trying to reduce them at mission Espi- 
ritu Santo with -Indians of another race. To effect this plan the 
best informed person, and probably the father of the project, 
Fray Juan de Dios Camberos, missionary at Espiritu Santo went to 
Zacatecas, and was sent thence by the college to Mexico. 4 His ap- 

to the viceroy, Feb. 29, 1752. 

2 Andreu to the viceroy. 

3 Dec. 26, 1751; Dec. 31, 1753, and another mentioned in this last. 

4 Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 30, 1753; Camberos to the viceroy, May 30, 
1754. It is inferred from the context that Piszina's letter here recited 
was sent by Camberos to the viceroy. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 129 

pointment was dated Feb. 26, 1754, and was signed by Fray Gas- 
par Joseph de Solis, guardian of the college, and later known in 
Texas by his tour of inspection among the missions. 1 

In his communications to the viceroy of April 29, May 6, 7, and 
30, Camberos set forth the situation and his plan. The Cujanes 
and their kindred, he said, were eagerly asking for a mission; so 
eager, indeed, that six of the chiefs of the Cujanes, Carancaguases, 
and Guapites were clamoring to be allowed to come to see the vice- 
roy himself in reference to the matter. But it was inadvisable to 
put them into mission Espiritu Santo together with the Jaranames 
and Tamiques already there, for they were tribes of different lan- 
guages, of different habits, and unfriendly. But to send them to 
San Antonio was equally impracticable, for they did not wish to 
leave the neighborhood of Bahia del Espiritu Santo, their native 
country. Even if the Indians were willing to be transplanted, ex- 
perience had shown that this was bad policy, for the Pamaques and 
other tribes, removed to San Antonio from their native soil on the 
Nueces, had speedily become almost extinguished. This very con- 
sideration had caused General Escandon to order Captain Piszina 
not to allow the Indians of his district to be taken from their coun- 
try. Moreover, if the mission were near the home of the Indians, 
fugitive neophytes could be easily recovered, whereas, if they were 
taken to San Antonio, the soldiers and missionaries would have to 
spend most of their time pursuing them. 

Camberos advised, therefore, the establishment of a separate mis- 
sion. But to save the expense of equipping a new one he recom- 
mended removing mission Nuestra Senora de los Ais from near the 
Sabine to the neighborhood of Bahia, and re-establishing it for the 
Cujanes. His arguments in favor of his plan are an interesting 
commentary, coming as they do from a zealous Zacatecan, upon the 
comparative failure of the East Texas missions. The three Zaca- 
tecan foundations in East Texas, San Miguel de los Adaes, Nuestra 
Senora de los Dolores de los Ais, and Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe 
de los Nacogdoches had been existing for more than thirty years, 
and yet, according to him, notwithstanding the untiring efforts of 
the missionaries to reduce the Indians to mission life, it was notor- 
ious that they had succeeded in little more than the baptizing of 

1 The original commission, with seal, is in the Archive General de Mexico. 

130 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

a few children and fewer adults upon the deathbed; and there was 
no hope that these tribes could ever be reduced to pueblos and in- 
duced to give up their tribal life. Under these circumstances four 
missionaries instead of five would suffice on that frontier. Since 
the Ais Indians consisted of only some forty families perhaps two 
hundred persons living within about fourteen leagues of mission 
Nacogdoches, 1 their mission could be suppressed, one missionary 
going to Nacogdoches to reside and from there ministering to the 
Ais, the other going to Bahia with the mission equipment, to work 
among the Karankawan tribes in question. 2 

At first Andreu, the fiscal, disapproved the plan on the ground 
that with the padre so far away, travel so difficult, and the Ais In- 
dians so indifferent, they would lose not only the wholesome ex- 
ample of the missionary in their daily life, but even the slight re- 
ligious benefits which they now received. 3 But Camberos sug- 
gested that the minister might incorporate the Ais with their kin- 
dred, the Little Ais (Aixittos), 4 living two leagues from the Nacog- 
doches mission. He concluded by reminding the fiscal that it was 
after all a question of relative service. On the one hand, here were 
scarce forty families of Ais, who for thirty years had shown them- 
selves irreducible; on the other hand, there were five hundred or 
more families of Cujanes, Guapites, and Carancaguases, "as ready 
to be instructed in the mysteries of our faith as the Ayx are repug- 
nant to living in Christian society"; for two years they had been 
and still were firm in their anxious desire to be reduced to a pueblo 
and instructed. Was it not a matter of duty to save the willing 
many rather than to struggle hopelessly with the unwilling few? 5 

These arguments convinced the fiscal and the auditor, whereupon 
the viceroy, on June 17 and June 21, issued to the governor and the 
college the necessary decrees for effecting the transfer. The order 
to the college provided "that the mission of Nuestra Senora de los 
Dolores de los Ais, situated in the province of los Texas, should be 

Tather Vallejo, of Adaes, maintained that the distance was nearly 
twenty leagues. Letter to the discretorio of his college, Dec. 1, 1754. 

''Camberos to the viceroy, Apr. 29, May 6, May 7, and May 31. 

"Andreu to the viceroy, May 2, 1754. 

'This name was sometimes written Aijitos, but it was intended for the 
diminutive of Ais, and when spelled with an x was pronounced, no doubt, 

5 Camberos to the viceroy, May 30, 1754. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 131 

totally abandoned; that of the two ministers there, one should re- 
main at mission Nacogdoches, it being the nearest at hand, in order 
that he might assist with the waters of holy baptism all the children 
and adults who might wish this benefit; and that the other should 
go to found the new mission of the Guapittes, Cu janes, and Caran- 
caguases in the territory of la Bahia del Espiritu Santo, for which 
purpose all the ornaments, furniture, and other goods of the 
mission of los Aix should be given to this minister and transferred 
to the new mission." 1 

But now a protest was heard from East Texas. Upon receiving 
the viceroy's order to extinguish the Ais mission, Father Vallejo, 
president of the Zacatecan establishments on the eastern frontier, 
and a veteran of thirty years' service, first sought the opinion of 
the governor. His opinion was hostile to the change. 2 Vallejo, 
with this backing, wrote to the guardian of his college that the 
Ais mission was by no means useless, and that until he should get 
further instructions he would defer the execution of the order. 
True, he said, the Ais Indians had not yet adopted mission life, in 
spite of the efforts of the fathers; yet they were being baptized in 
articulo mortis the records showed 158 such baptisms in 36 
years ; the padre was useful as physician and nurse among them ; 
and the friendly relations with the Indians, who assisted will- 
ingly in the domestic and agricultural duties about the mission, 
offered still a hope that they would settle down to pueblo life. In- 
deed, when Father Cyprian had been missionary he had had them 
congregated for a space of four years, and Father Garcia had like- 
wise kept them content about the mission till, because of a recent 
scarcity of mission supplies, one of the chiefs had persuaded them 
to return to their rancherias. But if the missionary were to retire 
to Nacogdoches, the distance and the difficulties of travel were so 
great that the Indians would be without aid, and would likely 
abandon their country, just as the Nazones had done when the mis- 
sionaries had deserted them (1729). The good father could not 
close his argument without appealing to the fear of the French, 

1 Summary contained in the communication of the discretorio to the 
viceroy, Jan. 6, 1755. 

2 Vallejo to Governor Barrios y Jauregui, Nov. 20, 1754; the governor 
to Vallejo, Nov. 30, 1754. The president's name was sometimes spelled 
with a B and sometimes with a V. 

132 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

tactics which had stood many a special pleader in good stead within 
the last half century. So he added that, aside from the importance 
of the Ais mission to the Indians, it was necessary as a half-way 
station between Nacogdoches and Adaes to give succor in case of 
hostile invasion. He maintained therefore that the mission 
should be continued at all hazards, even if with only one minister. 1 
This letter put an end to the effort to suppress the Ais mission, 
and set in motion a new plan. The discretorio, whence the idea 
of extinguishing los Ais had come, reported to the viceroy and sus- 
tained Vallejo's objections, and suggested, instead, a new mission 
for the Cujanes, maintaining, perhaps with truth, but with little 
regard for its former argument based on economy, that to equip a 
new mission would be little more expensive than to transfer the old 
one. 2 So the matter again went to the fiscal, and he, on March 6, 
1755, without other discussion than a review of the question, em- 
braced the new plan, and recommended that the Ais mission ba al- 
lowed to remain and that a new one be established for the coast 
tribes. 3 On March 22 the auditor approved the project, and on 
April 7, the viceroy issued the corresponding decree. 4 

7. Founding Mission Nuestra Senora del Eosario de los Cujanes. 

But matters at Bahia had not waited for the viceroy to change his 
mind. Some time before this steps had already been taken, in conse- 
quence of the previous order that looking to the transfer of the 
old establishment to a new site toward the actual foundation of 
the mission for the Cujanes and their friends. 

The government was slower to supply means than to sanction 
projects, and the funds with which to begin the work were raised 
by private gifts to the college or advanced by Piszina and the mis- 
sionaries at Bahia, while part of the mission furniture was bor- 
rowed from mission Espiritu Santo. 5 Camberos was sent to super- 
Fray Francisco Vallejo to the guardian and the discretorio of the col- 

e, Dec. 1, 1754. 

The discretorio of the college to the viceroy, January 6, 1755. 

8 Andreu to the viceroy, March 6, 1755. 

*Valcarcel to the viceroy, March 22; viceroy decree, Apr. 7. 

8 Letter of Camberos, May 26, 1758. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 133 

vise the foundation, 1 which was begun in November, 1754. Piszina 
spared nine soldiers to act as a guard, to assist with their hands, 
and to direct the Indians, some of whom were induced to help in 
the building and in preparing the field. On Jan. 15 Piszina thus 
wrote of the mission site and of progress in the work : "The place 
assigned for the congregation of these Indians, Excellent Sir, is 
four leagues from this presidio. 2 It has all the advantages known 
to be useful and necessary for the foundation of a large settlement, 
and, in my estimation, the country is the best yet discovered in 
these parts. It has spacious plains, and very fine meadows skirted 
by the River San Antonio, which appears to offer facilities for a 
canal to irrigate the crops. In the short time of two months since 
the building of the material part of the mission was begun, a decent 
[wooden] church for divine worship has been finished. It is better 
made than that of this presidio and the mission of Espiritu Santo. 
There have been completed also the dwellings for the minister and 
the other necessary houses and offices, all surrounded by a field 
large enough to plant ten fanegas of maize." 3 Two years later it 
was reported that irrigation facilities were about to be completed; 
that a dam of lime and stone forty varas long and four varas high 
had been built across an arroyo carrying enough water to fill it in 
four months, and that all that was lacking was the canal, which 
would soon be finished. 4 But this work seems not to have been com- 
pleted. Within a few years how soon does not appear a strong 
wooden stockade was built around the mission. 5 

The name by which Camberos called the mission in his reports 
was "Jsuestra Senora del Rosario de los Co janes." 6 Contemporary 
government documents sometimes call it by this name, and some- 
times simply "Xuestra Senora del Rosario"; while Solis, official 

*It is not clear when the missionary from Los Ais went to Rosario to 
assist Camberos. But that he did go before May 27, 1757, appears from 
a letter of that date. Strangely, however, the correspondence in several 
instances speaks of the missionary in the singular, and while Camberoa 
commends Captain Piszia for his co-operatin, he mentions no ecclesiasti- 
cal associate. (The discretorio to the viceroy, May 27, 1757; opinion of 
Valcareel, Feb. 1, 1758; report to the junta de guerra, Apr. 17,. 1758; Juan 
Martin de Astfz to the viceroy, on or before June 21, 1758.) 

2 See page 134. 

*Piszina to the viceroy, Jan. 15. 

*The discretorio of the college to the viceroy, May 27, 1757. 

"Soils, Diario, 1767-1763. Memorias, XXVII, 258*. See page 137. 

'Camberos to the viceroy, May 26, 1758. 

134 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. - 

inspector for the college, in his diary of 1768 calls it "Mision del 
Santissimo Rosario," and "Mision del Kosario." 1 The last is the 
more usual and popular form of the name. The addition of "de 
los Co janes" indicates in part the prominence of the Cujan tribe in 
the mission, and also the prevalent usage of their name as a generic 
term for the Karankawan tribes. The location of Rosario was 
given by Piszina as four leagues from the presidio of Bahia 2 in 
which direction he does not say, but it was clearly up stream. As 
will be seen, Piszina's estimate of the distance from Bahia was 
too great, unless the location of Rosario was subsequently changed. 
We learn from Solis's diary of 1768 that mission Espiritu Santo 
was "in sight of the Royal Presidio [apparently almost on the site 
of modern Goliad], with nothing between them but the river, which 
is crossed by a canoe" ; 3 and in 1793 Revilla Gigedo reported mission 
Rosario as two leagues nearer than Espiritu Santo to Bexar. 4 I am 
informed by Mr. J. H. Passmore, of Goliad, that the ruins today 
identified as those of Espiritu Santo are across the river from 
Goliad, and that four miles west of these, one-half a mile south of 
the San Antonio River, are the ruins identified, correctly, no doubt, 
as those of mission Rosario. 5 

Lack of funds for current expenses and to properly establish 
agriculture and grazing greatly handicapped the missionaries and 
Captain Piszina, while, on the other hand, the Indians did not 
prove as eager to embrace the blessings of Christianity as the un- 
initiated might have been led to expect from the former reports 
of their anxiety to do so. They came to the mission from time to 
time, and helped more or less with the work, but when provisions 
gave out they were perforce allowed, or even advised, to return to 
the coast.* 

The number who frequented the mission and availed themselves 
of these periodical supplies must have been considerable, for within 
less than a year of the founding of the mission, Piszina reported 

Wemorias, XXVII, 256, 266; Aranda to the viceroy, July 19, 1758. 

2 See ante, page 133. 

"Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII, 264. 

*Carta dirigida d la carte de Espana, Dec. 27, 1793. 

"From what I can learn, it seems probable that the buildings at Goliad 
whose remains are now called "Mission Aranama" were connected with the 
presidio of Bahia rather than with a mission. 

"Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 22, 1756; Camberos, May 26, 1758. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 135 

that one thousand pesos in private funds had been spent for maize, 
meat, cotton cloth, tobacco, etc. ; a year later he said that the num- 
ber of Indians at mission Espiritu Santo a number large enough 
to consume five or six bulls a week was smaller than the number 
at Kosario, 1 and that in all six thousand pesos had been spent in 
supporting the latter. 

But conversions were slow, and the total harvest after four years' 
work was twenty-one souls baptized in articulo mortis twelve 
adults and nine children. In May, 1758, only one of the Indians 
living at the mission was baptized. Camberos claimed that this 
small showing of baptisms was partly due to his conservatism. "If 
I had been over-ready in baptizing Indians," he said, "at the end 
of these four years you would have found this coast nearly covered 
with the holy baptism ; but experience has taught me that baptisms 
performed hastily make of Indians Christians who are so only in 
name, and who live in the woods undistinguishable from the in- 
fidel." 2 

The Indians were hard to manage, gave the soldiers much diffi- 
culty, 3 and sustained their old reputation for being inconstant, 
unfaithful, and dissatisfied. The example of San Xavier, where a 
padre had recently been murdered, was fresh in the minds of the 
missionaries, and even when the Indians at Eosario were best dis- 
posed it was feared that they might revolt and harm their benefac- 
tors. The Cu janes in particular were feared, for, besides being 
the most numerous, they were regarded as especially bold and un- 
manageable. 4 This fear, together with danger from the Apaches, 
was ground for some of the numerous appeals made for an increase 
of soldiers at the presidio, and for the building of the stockade. 

As soon as Piszina had finished the mission buildings he had re- 
newed his former request for ten additional soldiers, 5 and had asked 
the government to assist the new mission with the usual one year's 
supplies, in addition to the ornaments and furniture. Thereafter 
his appeal was frequently repeated, 6 and was seconded by the col- 

'Piszina to the viceroy, Nov. 10, 1755, and Dee. 22, 1756. 

"Letter dated May 23, 1758. 

'Piszina to the viceroy, Dec. 22, 1756. 

*The discretorio to the viceroy, May 27, 1757. 

5 See page 128. 

"Letters to the viceroy, Jan. 15, 1755, Nov. 10, 1755; Dec. 22, 1756. 

136 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

lege, by Camberos, and by Governor Barrios y Jauregui. 1 But for 
three years the government only discussed, procrastinated, and 
called for reports, until finally in a junta de guerra y hacienda held 
Apr. 17, 1758, the various items asked for were granted. 2 

8. Ten Years After. 

With this belated aid the mission became more prosperous as 
prosperous, indeed, as could be expected under the circumstances. 
In 1768 it was able to report a total of two hundred baptisms, which, 
so far as mere numbers go, was relatively as good a showing as had 
been made by its neighbor among tribes somewhat more docile, 
and nearly as good as that made by San Jose, the finest mission 
in all New Spain. At this time there must have been from one 
hundred to two hundred Indians, at least, living intermittently in 
the mission. But residence or baptism did not of necessity signify 
any great change in the savage nature of the Indians. They were 
hard to control, and were with difficulty kept at the mission, made to 
work, and induced to give up their crude ways. If corporal pun- 
ishment was used, which was sometimes the case, 3 the neophytes 
ran away; and if they complained of harsh treatment by the 
padres., they were likely to find willing listeners among the soldiers. 

It is not the purpose of this paper to follow out the history of 
the mission after its foundation. But it may vivify the reader's 
impression, and help him to secure a more correct idea of a frontier 
mission of the less substantial sort and of the conditions surround- 
ing it to reproduce here some parts of the diary account of Kosario 
made in 1768 by Father Solis, the official inspector of the Texas 
missions for his college. I therefore quote the following: 

"[Feb.] 26. I passed through an opening called the Guardian, 

1 The discretorio to the viceroy, May 27, 1757 (At the end of 1755 the 
college sent an agent to the viceroy in person to urge haste in the matter) ; 
Barrios y Jauregui to the viceroy, Aug. 26, 1757; Letter to Camberos, 
May 26, 1756. 

"Report of the junta, in the Archive General, original MS. The discus- 
sion of the question by the government may be found in communications 
of Aranda to the viceroy, Jan. 24, 1758; Aranda to the viceroy, March 10, 
1757; Valcarcel to the viceroy, Apr. 5, 1757; Valcarcel to the viceroy, 
Feb. 1, 1758; report of the junta de guerra, Apr. 17, 1758. 

8 In 1768 an investigation was made at this mission as a result of the| 
flight of some of the Carancaguases, with the result that charges of harsh 
dealing with the neophytes were reported to the government at Mexico. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 137 

then through others, and arrived at Mission del Santissimo Rosario, 
where I was received by the minister with much attention. The 
Indians who had remained at the mission for many were fugitive 
in the woods and on the shore came out in gala array as an em- 
bassy to meet me on the way. . . . The captain of la Bahia re- 
mained and posted a picket of soldiers to keep guard by day and 
by night. This mission is extremely well kept in all respects. It 
secures good water from Eio San Antonio de Vejar. The country 
is pleasant and luxurious. . . . The climate is very bad and 
unhealthful, hot, and humid, with southerly winds. Everything, 
including one's clothing, becomes damp, even within the houses, 
as if it were put in water. Even the inner walls wreak with water 
as if it were raining. 

"28. I went to dine at the royal presidio of La Bahia del Espi- 
ritu Santo, at the invitation of the captain. I was accompanied 
by Fathers Ganuza 1 and Lopez, and Brothers Francisco Sedano 
and Antonio Casas. . . . The captain received us with great 
respect and ceremony, welcoming us with a volley by the company 
and four cannon shots, . . . serving us a very free, rich, and 
abundant table, and comporting himself in everything with the 
magnificence and opulence of a prince. . . 

"29. I said the mass of the inspection (visita) and inspected 
the church, sacristy, and the entire mission. . . . 

"[March] 3. ... At night there returned thirty -three fam- 
ilies of the Indians of this mission who had wandered, fugitives. 
I received them with suavity and affection. . . . 

"4. . . . The opinion which I have formed of this mission 
of Nuestra Senora del Rosario is as follows : As to material wealth 
it is in good condition. It has two droves of burros, about forty 
gentle horses, thirty gentle mules, twelve of them with harness, five 
thousand cattle, two hundred milch cows, and seven hundred sheep 
and goats. The buildings and the dwellings, both for the minis- 
ters and for the soldiers and the Indians, are good and sufficient. 
The stockade of thick and strong stakes which protects the mission 
from its enemies is very well made. The church is very decent. 
It is substantially built of wood, plastered inside with mud, and 

l ln the MS. this man's name is spelled Ganuza, Lamuza and Lanuza. 
His name is not given in Schmidt's Catalogue of Franciscan Missions. 

138 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

whitewashed with lime; and its roof of good beams and shingles 
(taxamanil) looks like a dome (parece arteson). Its decoration is 
very bright and clean. It has sacred vessels, a bench for ornaments 
and utensils, a pulpit with confessional, altars, and all the things 
pertaining to the divine cult. Everything is properly arranged and 
kept in its place. There is a baptismal font, with a silver concha 
and silver cruets for the holy oils. The mission has fields of crops, 
which depend upon the rainfall, for water can not be got from the 
river, since it has very high and steep banks, nor from any where 
else since there is no other place to get it. 

"This mission was founded in 1754. Its minister, who, 'as I have 
already said, is Fr. Joseph Escovar, labors hard for its welfare, 
growth, and improvement. He treats the Indians with much love, 
charity, and gentleness, employing methods soft, bland, and 
alluring. He makes them work, teaches them to pray, tries to 
teach them the catechism and to instruct them in the rudiments of 
our Holy Faith and in good manners. He aids and succors them 
as best he may in all their needs, corporal and spiritual, giving 
them food to eat and clothing to wear. In the afternoon before 
evening prayers, with a stroke of the bell, he assembles them, big 
and little, in the cemetery, has them say the prayers and the Chris- 
tian doctrine, explains and tries to teach them the mysteries of 
our Holy Faith, exhorting them to keep the commandments of God 
and of Our Holy Mother Church, and setting forth what is neces- 
sary for salvation. On Saturdays he collects them and has them 
repeat the rosary with its mysteries, and the alavado cantado. On 
Sundays and holidays before mass, he has them repeat the prayers 
and the doctrine and afterward preaches to them, explaining the 
doctrine and whatever else they ought to understand. If he orders 
punishment given to those who neer! it, it is with due moderation, 
and not exceeding the limits of charity and paternal correction; 
looking only to the punishment of wrong and excess, it does not 
lean toward cruelty or tyranny. 1 

"The Indians with which this mission was founded are the Co- 
xanes, Guapites, Carancaguases, and Coopanes, but of this last na- 
tion there are at present only a few, for most of them are in the 
woods or on the banks of some of the many rivers in these parts; 

J See note ante, p. 136. 

The Founding of Mission Rosario. 139 

or with another (otra) nation, their friends and confederates, on 
the shore of the sea, which is some thirteen or fourteen leagues dis- 
tant to the east of the mission. They are all barbarous, idle, and 
lazy; and although they were so greedy and gluttonous that they 
eat meat almost raw, parboiled, or half roasted and dripping with 
blood, yet, rather than stay in the mission where the padre pro- 
vides them everything needed to eat and wear, they prefer to suffer 
hunger, nakedness, and other necessities, in order to be at liberty 
and idle in the woods or on the beach, giving themselves up to all 
kinds of vice, especially lust, theft, and dancing." 1 

Such were the difficulties usually attending the labors of the fron- 
tier missionaries, exaggerated somewhat in this instance, no doubt, 
by the exceptional crudeness of the tribes they were trying to 
subdue. And such were the meager first fruits of Escandon's well 
considered plan to occupy the coast country this side of the Rio 
Grande. In after years the wooden church of the mission was re- 
placed by one of stone, and the mission experienced varying de- 
grees of prosperity. Escandon's project of establishing a Spanish 
pueblo near by was also realized, and other weak settlements were 
founded toward the Rio Grande. But these are matters outside 
the scope of this paper. 

, Diario, in Hemorias de Nueva Espana, XXVII, 256-259. 

140 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 





(1) Seat of Austin's Colony. 

On his way home from the City of Mexico, after having secured a 
final confirmation of the colonization grant made to his father, 
Stephen F. Austin called on Governor Don Luciano Garcia at Bexar 
and informed him of his success. The governor thereupon gave the 
name of San Felipe de Austin to the town which was to be laid off 
for the capital of the new colony (July 26, 1823 ). 1 Baron de Bas- 
trop, commissioner on the part of the government, accompanied 
Austin from Bexar to survey lands and in union with Austin to 
issue titles to the settlers. The settlement was found in such dis- 
organized condition, owing to the long absence of Austin, that Bas- 
trop thought it advisable to postpone his work until the next year, 
when he revisited the colony. San Felipe was founded in 1824, 
and thenceforth figured as the capital of Austin's colony. 2 

Located most charmingly on a high prairie bluff on the west 
bank of the Brazos river, at the head of navigation, it was never- 
theless in the very heart of the wilderness and could lay claim to 
none of the advantages, comforts, or other amenities of civilization 
associated today with the name of even the smallest village. For 
many years there was no post office, no school, no church, and the 
stores, shops and taverns were small and their supplies scanty. 
What gave importance to the place was the fact that here the public 
business of the colony was transacted the laws promulgated, jus- 
tice administered, land titles issued, and the public safety main- 

l, Laics of Texas, I 13, 34. 
"Holley, Texas, 109. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 141 

(2) Seat of the Convention of 1832. 

The disturbances that occurred in Texas during the summer of 
1832 made it desirable that a convention of the delegates of all 
Texas be called. The alcaldes of the municipality of Austin, on 
August 22, 1832, "therefore recommended, that the people of each 
Town, Precinct, and Civil District in Texas, elect Five Delegates, 
to meet at the Town of San Felipe de Austin, on the 1st Monday 
in October next." The suggestion was adopted and the delegates 
to the first convention of all Texas assembled in San Felipe, and 
not at Bexar, which was San Felipe's senior by almost a century, 
or at Goliad or Nacogdoches, both very much older. . 

(3) Seat of the Central Committee, and the Convention of 1833. 

The convention of 1832 before adjourning had made provision 
for a central and sub-committees. The location of the central com- 
mittee is not fixed, but from the personnel of that body it is clear 
that no other place than San Felipe was intended. The central 
committee was empowered "to call a Convention of Delegates from 
all Texas, at such time and place as they think proper." In 
January, 1833, this committee called a new convention to meet 
at San Felipe on April 1. This convention met at the time and 
place indicated, and one of its acts was to continue the central com- 
mittee. A state constitution, too, was drafted, but it did not fix the 
location of the seat of government. 

(4) Seat of the Department of Brazos. 

It is shown above how San Felipe received its name, how the place 
was laid out, and how this site received the popular approval 
by making it the place of assembly for the conventions of October, 
1832, and April, 1833. Decree No. 270, of the congress of Coa- 
huila and Texas, dated Monclova, March 18, 1834, finally set the 
seal of official approval upon the location by designating San Fe- 
lipe as the capital of the department of Brazos, created by this 
decree. The chief of the new department was appointed July 8, 
but, perhaps, a month or two elapsed before he qualified. 

142 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

(5) Seat of the General Council. 

From April, 1833, until the appointment of the political chief 
of the department of Brazos, about the middle of 1834, the central 
committee at San Felipe appears to have had little to do. This 
appointment promised to make its services entirely superfluous. 
However, with the growing importance of the events that were 
paving the way for a rupture with Mexico, and in view of the in- 
ability of the political chief of the Department of Brazos to in- 
augurate any satisfactory policy, the need of a unifying directory 
of the affairs of all Texas became so great that the old central com- 
mittee finally shouldered the responsibility of this office and, after 
a hasty reorganization, under the title of general council, it con- 
trolled affairs from the middle of September, 1835, until the meet- 
ing of its successor the consultation. The strength of the general 
council rested on the high character of its membership; its ef- 
ficiency, on the fact that it represented all Texas. Its headquarters 
were at San Felipe. 

(6) Seat of the Consultation. 

The need for a general consultation of all Texas had been felt 
since the middle of June, 1835 ; various efforts were made to bring 
it about; but for want of unanimity nothing was accomplished 
until the middle of August. By the end of July the plans of Santa 
Anna with regard to Texas were sufficiently well known to unite 
the people of Texas at least to the extent of being willing to hold a 
general consultation. A call for the election of delegates was 
issued from Velasco, August 20th. This plan received the hearty 
approval of S. F. Austin, when he arrived home from Mexico; and, 
while he was chairman of the central committee at San Felipe, 
this committee united in the call referred to above. There was a 
diversity of opinion, however, touching the place where the con- 
sultation should assemble. The people of Columbia,, without as- 
signing any reasons, appointed Washington; the people of San 
Felipe designated San Felipe, and submitted, in a circular ad- 
dressed to the committee of safety of the various municipalities, the 
following reasons in support of their selection : 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 143 

Some diversity of opinion has existed as to the place where the 
proposed consultation should meet. This place and Washington 
have been proposed. The meeting of yesterday have preferred this 
place for the reason that there is a printing press here. The most 
important public records are here, and the principal political au- 
thority of the department resides here. This question will of 
course be decided by the wishes of the majority, for which reason 
it is important that you [the committees of safety] will communi- 
cate to this Committee what are the wishes of the people of that 
section on this point. 1 

The question of the place of meeting of the consultation was thus 
referred for determination to the local committees of safety, a step 
that bears the evidence of fairness and of a willingness to make 
all concessions, consistent with the general good, for the sake of 
harmony. This circular was issued from San Felipe on September 
13th; the consultation was to assemble on October 15th. Want of 
promptness on the part of the local committees, however, made it 
impossible for the central committee to fix beforehand the place of 
meeting of the consultation. So the question of place virtually 
resolved itself to this At what place would a majority of the dele- 
gates to the consultation assemble ? 

The battle of G-onzales, October 2, 1835, interfered with both 
the election and the assembling of the delegates to the consulta- 
tion. Many who had been, or who subsequently were chosen dele- 
gates had hastened to the defence of their country; and when the 
time for the meeting of this body approached, they were loath to 
quit the army for the council chamber. They, therefore, on Oc- 
tober 10th, held a meeting in camp at Gonzales and adopted the 
following resolutions: 

Resolved, That the chairman of this meeting [S. F. Austin] be 
instructed to address the members of the Consultation, requesting 
all who can, to repair to the camp of the volunteers, armed and 
equipped for battle, and when so assembled, if a war is necessary, to 
aid in fighting the battles of the country ; but, if their services can 
be spared from the field, to determine on holding the Consultation 
at such time and place as a majority of the members may agree 

Resolved, That, if any portion of the members of the Convention 
meet at the time and place appointed, and find it impracticable to 

^Publications of the Southern History Association, VIII 20, 21. 

144 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

repair to the camp, as invited in the foregoing resolution, that they 
be requested, if they amount to a quorum, to adjourn from day to 
day, and suspend all action until the 1st of November. 1 

Austin's letter of next day, transmitting the above resolutions, 
is addressed "To the members of the General Consultation who 
may meet on the 15th Instant," but no place is indicated where they 
are expected to meet. 2 It was unquestionably sent to San Felipe. 3 
Was it also sent to Washington ? 

A small number of delegates gathered at Washington about the 
time fixed for the meeting of the consultation, and the following 
letter was written by those from Mina on their way thither : 

At Coke's Octr 17th 1835 
To the members of 
The "Genl consultation" &c. 

At San Felipe 

The delegates from the Municipality of Mina have positive in- 
structions from their constituents to meet in "consultation," at 
Washington on Brazos we expect to be at that place this evening, 
where we shall remain until we hear further from San Felipe and 
from Mina They are persuaded that the citizens of Mina will never 
approve of holding the "consultation" at San Felipe for many rea- 
sons but more especially as Washington was first named & recom- 
mended as the place of meeting The people of Columbia took 
the lead & I presume will expect to meet there The citizens of 
Washington, we are informed, have made very ample preparations, 
at a large expense, for accommodating the delegates The confi- 
dence, which has produced such results in our minds, should be 

We shall expect to hear soon from you that we may determine 
whether to remain, or to return to our homes 

Very respectfully &c 

D. C. Barrett 
B. Manlove 

P. S. The other delegates from Mina now in the colonial army 
have been notified of their election & place of Meeting 4 

The following document, which unfortunately bears no date, will 

telegraph, October 17, 1835. 

Consultations Papers MS. All MSS. to which reference are made are 
on file in the Texas State Library, unless otherwise stated. 

"Address of General Council to People of Texas, October 18, 1835, in 
Telegraph, October 26, 1835. 

Consultation Papers MS. 

The Svat of Government of Texas. 145 

exhibit what was done by the delegates that assembled at Wash- 
ington : 

We the undersigned delegates elected to the General Consulta- 
tion of all Texas to be holden in the Town of Washington on the 
loth day of October 1835. met according to appointment. 

Having received the resolutions adopted by the members elect of 
the General Consultation, the officers of the Army, and People of 
Gonzales at their meeting held at Gonzales on the llth Inst. recom- 
mending an adjournment of the said Consultation to some future 
and convenient time. We concur therein ; and recommend that the 
said Consultation be adjourned until the first day of November 

We further recommend that the said General Consultation be 
holden in the Town of Washington as first proposed by the meet- 
ing of the Citizens of Columbia and generally approved by the sev- 
eral meetings of the Citizens of Texas. 

Jesse Grimes 
E. M. Millican 
Asa Mitchell 
E. Collard 

We the Undersigned members of the Genl consultation were not 
present at the above meeting but concur with those who were there 
in agreeing to hold the same at Washington on the first of Nov 

A. G. Perry 

A. E. C. Johnson 

J. L. Hood 

J. G. W. Pierson 1 

A larger number of delegates, but not a sufficient number to 
form a quorum, assembled at San Felipe on October 16th. On the 
following day they adopted the resolutions below and adjourned : 

Resolved, That the members present adjourn until the first day 
of next month, or as soon as a quorum can meet at this place, so as 
to afford an opportunity to those who may desire it to join the army 
in the defense of their country. 

Resolved, That those who cannot join the army may remain here, 
with the permission to unite with the Council of Texas, 2 . . . 

From October 17th till the first of November the question of 
place of meeting remained in statu quo. 'Tis true that a number 

HUonsultation Papers MS. 
^Journals of the Consultation, 5. 

146 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

of the delegates availed themselves of the permission contained in 
the second resolution above, and joined the general council. 1 On 
October 19th the general council thus strengthened took the fol- 
lowing action: 

On Motion of Mr. Perry for the determined place of the meet- 
ing of the Genl Consultation on the first of November 1835 of all 
Texas as follows 

Eesolved by the Genl Council of Texas that the Genl Consulta- 
tion be held at Washington on the first of Nov, 1835 first pro- 
posed by the Committee of Columbia. 

Adopted with one .Dissenting voice 2 

This gratuitous piece of assumption on the part of the general 
council, however, appears to have been entirely ignored by all. 
Those delegates who had assembled at Washington about the middle 
of October again assembled there on the first of November; those 
who had met at San Felipe again assembled at San Felipe ; the de- 
cision of place lay with the delegates in the army. These, at the 
suggestion of the commander-in-chief and with the approbation of 
the troops, returned in time to be present at the opening on the 
first, at San Felipe "the place appointed for the Consultation." 3 
In spite of this practical decision of the matter, the question 
was placed before the consultation on November 3d by one of the 
delegates from Mina, as is shown by the following extract from 
the minutes for that day : 

The House met persuant to adjournment and on Motion of K. 
N. Williamson that the convention adjourn fourth with from this 
place to meet at the Town of Washington The Motion being put 
to the House 

Votes in favor of the adjournment 1 
" against 40 

Resolved unanimously that an express be sent fourth with to Wash- 
ington requesting the members at that place to repair immediately 
to this. 4 

The arrival of the members, who had met at Washington, at San 
Felipe on November 5th marks the termination of dissent upon the 
question of the place of meeting of the consultation; and no fur- 

l journal of the General Council, in the QUARTERLY, VII 260. 

*IUd., VII 265. 

^Comprehensive History of Texas, I 546, 549. 

4 MS Journal of the Consultation. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 147 

ther action was taken during the deliberations of this body. How- 
ever, when it adjourned, it was to meet at Washington on March 
1, 1836. 1 

(7) Seat of the Provisional Government. 

The consultation was succeeded by the governor and general 
council in the management of the affairs of Texas. This body was 
left free to "hold their sessions at such times and places as in their 
opinion will give the most energy and effect to the objects of the 
people, and to the performance of the duties , assigned them/' 2 
Those who were dissatisfied with the location of the seat of gov- 
ernment at San Felipe early made preparations to select some other 
place. R. R. Roy all, in a letter to J. W. Fannin, dated November 
15, 1835, writes from San Felipe that, "Where the council will hold 
its sessions is yet undetermined. I believe it will be in Washington 
or Matagorda, probably at the latter." 3 And Governor Henry 
Smith took occasion to call the attention of the council to this 
subject in his first official communication to that body as follows: 

It will also become your duty to select some place as the seat of 
government, at which to hold your regular sittings during the con- 
tinuance of the present form of government. In doing this you 
will throw aside all local partialities and prejudices, and fix on 
that point possessing most advantages, and the best calculated to 
forward our views by giving promptness and energy to our united 
actions. I therefore deem it unnecessary to make further sugges- 
tions on that subject, and will only add, that a Council Hall, to- 
gether with other offices for the different departments of govern- 
ment, is indispensable.* 

The committee on the affairs of state and judiciary, to whom 
this paragraph of the governor's message was referred, reported on 
November 17: 

Your committee is concerned to see the want of unanimity in 
this body, upon the proper location of a place where to establish 
the sittings and offices of the "Provisional Government." Several 

'Article XVII of Plan of the Provisional Government, in Journal of the 
Consultation, 47. 

2 Art. XIII of the Plan of the Provisional Government, in Journal of the 
Consultation, 46. 

"Baker, Texas Scrap-Book, 656. 

4 Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 14, 15. 

148 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

places have been mentioned as suited to this object, and your com- 
mittee being unprepared to determine the matter, will briefly sub- 
mit the representations made to them by different persons. 

By some it is contended that the location should be in Wash- 
ington on the Brazos; this place is said to be situated in a thickly 
populated country, and most central to the inhabited parts of 
Texas. It is known that the town is of very recent origin, 1 having 
few if any suitable buildings or rooms for public business, and no 
printing establishment. Convenience and retirement are necessary 
for public officers, in the dispatch of business of the character in 
which we are now engaged. These objects cannot be expected at 
present in Washington, hereafter this place will no doubt be fixed 
upon as the seat of Government. 

The inconveniencies and discomforts of our present location are 
too sensibly felt by every member of the Provisional Government 
to require any remarks; an excellent and well conducted Press is 
the only present inducement for continuing in San Felipe : Mata- 
gorda and Yelasco, destitute of the latter advantage, possess no 
superiority of convenience for business over San Felipe, and al- 
though strongly recommended by some, will scarcely produce any 
difference of opinion in this body. 

Brazoria, with the advantages of a good and well conducted Press, 
is represented as having a suitable Council-Hall, well adapted 
rooms, and other conveniences for the dispatch of public business. 
Its location upon the navigable waters of the Brazos, affords almost 
hourly communication with the coast, and the distance from the 
army will make but about a day's difference in travel more than 
to San Felipe, and about the same to Washington ; but the badness 
of the roads at this season of the year, is said to be a serious disad- 
vantage, if not an insuperable objection. 

With these statements your committee submits to the wisdom of 
the Council to determine the place of its sittings, and the location 
of the Provisional Government. 

Concluding with urging the necessity of prompt decision. 2 

The Council gave its immediate attention to this subject: 

Mr. Houston moved that the Council adjourn, when it leaves 
this place, to the town of Washington. 

The question being taken on the above, and the Ayes and Noes 
were demanded, the vote stood thus: 

Ayes Messrs. Wharton, Grimes, Barrett, Perry, Parker, Hous- 
ton, Parmer and Padilla 8. 


2 Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 20, 21. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 149 

Noes Messrs. Clements, Millard, Hanks, Harris, Wilson and 
West 6 : so the question was decided in the affirmative. 

Mr. Houston moved that the Council adjourn to meet at Wash- 
ington on the 23rd inst., but withdrew his motion, at the suggestion 
of Mr. Barrett, who offered the following, which was adopted : 

Kesolved, that an express be immediately sent to Washington to 
inform the citizens of the removal of the Provisional Government 
to that place, and requesting them to be in readiness to receive its 
officers; and also that the fact of its removal be communicated to 
the army, and to all parts of Texas. 1 

Governor Smith stopped the move to Washington with his exec- 
utive veto, for the reasons that 

There is no printing press at Washington, which I deem essen- 
tial to our business ; the public printing has not been yet completed 
as contracted for, which should be superintended by your body, 
nor has there been any Legislative action known to me, prescribing 
or defining the duties of our agents to be sent abroad; their com- 
missions with authority to hypothecate the public lands and pledge 
the faith of the country, to answer our present emergencies, have 
not been made out. Commissions granting letters of Marque and 
Reprisal, have been earnestly solicited, both by our own citizens 
and foreigners, and as yet, have not been acted on. These are things 
I deem of the most urgent and vital importance, and should receive 
prompt attention. 

Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 21. 

An interesting sidelight is thrown upon this subject of removal in the 
following extract from a communication to the Telegraph of November 21, 
1835: "Again there are others who say, 'Let the seat of government be 
established at any other place than San Felipe. But what has poor San 
Felipe done to merit the displeasure of these members? Why, in good 
sooth, there happens to be no corn, at present, to feed the horses of the 
members, and other accommodations not good, the want of offices, etc. As 
to the first objection, it is easily answered, as you, Messrs. Editors, can 
testify. A want of corn and other necessaries, at this time, is occasioned 
entirely by the absence of men and teams from the vicinity of San Felipe. 
Perhaps the people, in no section of the country, have furbished more 
men and teams, in proportion to the inhabitants, than has the settlement 
nearest to San Felipe. It is well known that within a day's ride of the 
place, there is an abundance of corn, and potatoes, and everything requisite 
to furnish a good table; but they are not available, because the owners 
have gone where duty called them. In short, no help is to be had. The 
same argument might be offered for the scarcity of servants at the taverns 
at San Felipe. And would not the same difficulties be felt at other places? 
Flour and other luxuries brought from abroad might be more readily pro- 
cured at Velasco or Matagorda, but they would be proportionally more 
difficult to obtain at Washington. As to offices, I presume they might be 
obtained at San Felipe, as readily as at any other place. It is true, the 
Convention hall is not sufficiently large for the number of delegates elect; 
but the citizens, it is thought, will accommodate the different departments 
with suitable rooms for our different officers." 

150 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Furthermore, I am not apprized that your body has made the 
necessary arrangements for our comfortable location at Washing- 
ton. It appears to me probable that more might be lost than 
gained by the move; be that as it may, the move as contemplated 
and incorporated in the 6th decree I deem premature, and calcu- 
lated to produce delay and great injury, as such, I feel bound to ob- 
ject to it. I would beg leave to suggest to your honorable body 
that, notwithstanding our situations here may be uncomfortable, 
and none can be more so than my own, still a sense of public duty 
urges me to earnestly solicit your body to submit themselves to all 
inconveniences for the present, until the grand and important busi- 
ness of necessity can be accomplished, and they will find me willing 
to co-operate with them in the selection of any point which they 
may deem best calculated to promote our own convenience, and ad- 
vance the public good. 1 

An effort was made to pass this measure over the governor's veto, 
but it failed by a vote of 4 to 8. 2 In consequence the seat of gov- 
ernment remained at San Felipe until about the 22nd of February, 

San Felipe had been the seat of all the important councils of 
Anglo-American Texas since the founding of Austin's colony. 
However, with the passing of the provisional government and the 
advance of the Mexican hordes, its material glory passed away, and 
it was sacrificed in the defense of the country. No town in Texas 
counted among its citizenship abler champions of civil liberty, no 
town had done more to promote the cause of independence ; yet in- 
dependence was proclaimed at Washington. San Felipe was the 
home of Austin, the Father of Texas, and Travis, the defender of 
Texan liberty, but neither of them is buried there. 


(1) Seat of the Convention of March, 1886. 

Washington is located near the Brazos where this river is crossed 
by the San Antonio road. It was laid out as a town in the spring 
of 1835; it was erected into a municipality in July of the same 
year; and by the spring of 1836 it contained, perhaps, fifty houses. 3 

^Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 37, 38. 

2 Ibid., 43. 

"Holley, History of Texas, 118. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 151 

Washington was proposed in August, 1835, as the place of meeting 
for the consultation; a portion of the delegates assembled there 
about the middle of October and again on the first of November; 
the general council voted that the consultation should meet there, 
and the consultation adjourned to reassemble at that point; how- 
ever, as the consultation never reassembled, this act passed for 
naught, as did all the preceding acts enumerated above. The pro- 
visional government, after failing to agree upon a removal of its 
sessions to that place, fixed Washington as the place of meeting for 
the convention which it called to meet in March, 1836. * But the 
course pursued by Henry Smith, after he was deposed by the 
general council, made it desirable for the provisional government 
to transfer its offices to some other point. The near approach of 
the time for the meeting of the convention, induced the general 
council to choose Washingtin. The following resolution was 
adopted to this end on February 16, 1836 ; 

Eesolved, That the Council adjourn to meet at the town of Wash- 
ington on the twenty-second day of this month, and that the acting 
Governor and other officers connected with the Provisional Gov- 
ernment be notified of the fact and requested to remove their offices 
to that place. 2 

The general council accordingly assembled at Washington on 
February 22, but failed to obtain a quorum; the other officers of 
the provisional government, with perhaps one or two exceptions, 
had also removed by March 1, 1836. 

The convention assembled at Washington and organized on 
March 1, 1836. For various reasons the convention considered it 
expedient to terminate the provisional government at once. Be- 
fore it could organize a government under the constitution, the 
extreme emergency of the case and the critical situation of Texas 
made the establishment of a government ad interim necessary. 

(2) Temporary Seat of the Government ad interim. 

The constitution adopted by the convention did not designate any 
place as the seat of government; the only reference to the subject 
in that document being Section 3 of the General Provisions : 

^Ordinances and Decrees of the Consultation, Provisional Government of 
Texas and the Convention which assembled at Washington March 1, 1836, 
p. 76; Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 106. 

"Journal of the Proceedings of the General Council, 356, 357. 

152 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

The presidents and heads of departments shall keep their offices 
at the seat of government, unless removed by the permission of 
congress, or unless in case of emergency in time of war, the public 
interest may require their removal. 

The inauguration of the new government is best described in 
the words of President Burnet: 

On the evening of the 16th March, a messenger arrived from 
the west, bearing the melancholy intelligence that the Alamo had 
fallen, and all within it been massacred. The Convention assem- 
bled forthwith, and with some few symptoms of undue excitement, 
proceeded to the institution of an executive government for the 
embryo republic. David G. Burnet was elected President; Lorenzo 
de Zavala, a distinguished Mexican, was elected Vice-President ; 
Col. Samuel P. Carson, formerly of North-Carolina, Secretary of 
State; Bailey Hardiman, Secretary of the Treasury; Col. Thomas 
J. Kusk, Secretary of War; Kobert Potter, Secretary of the Navy; 
and David Thomas, Attorney-General. 

The inauguration of the new government was completed about 
two o'clock in the morning of 17th March, the Convention having 
been in session all night. Mr. Burnet delivered a pertinent ad- 
dress of some length, and on the ensuing day issued a proclamation 
from which we extract the following: "The government will re- 
move to Harrisburg ; but that removal is not the result of any ap- 
prehension that the enemy is near us. It was resolved upon as a 
measure conducive to the common good, before any such report was 
in circulation, and it has not been expedited by such report. 
. . . Let us acquit ourselves like men ; gird up the loins of our 
minds, and by one united, prompt, and energetic exertion, turn 
back this impotent invader; and planting our standard on the 
bank of the Rio Grande, dictate to him the terms of mutual recog- 
nition." Both these documents were published at San Felipe, in 
fugitive handbills, a very few of which are now extant. 

The same express that gave intelligence of the fall of the Alamo, 
told, also, that Gen. Houston and his little army were in rapid 
retreat from Gonzales. This was calculated and did contribute to 
the general excitement. As soon as the ceremonies of the installa- 
tion were finished, the Convention adjourned sine die; to meet no 
more. The next day the little town of Washington was evacuated, 
not only by the members, whose services were no longer required, 
but by every family, excepting one, Mr. Lott's, who kept the hotel. 
The entire population west of the Brazos was also broken up and 
fugitive, and panic seemed to rule the day. The President and 
the Secretaries of War and Navy, remained at Washington three 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 153 

days longer, occupied in such matters as required immediate atten- 
tion, when they also, in the afternoon, repaired calmly to the resi- 
dence of the late Col. Groce, on the route to Harrisburg. 1 


The considerations that led to the selection of Harrisburg as the 
seat of government are stated by President Burnet, in his first mes- 
sage to congress, in ihese terms: 

The administration which had been organized at the town of 
Washington deemed it expedient to change its location to Harris- 
burg, from which point it could possess an easier access to foreign 
countries, from whence our supplies of munitions were to be ob- 
tained, and a more direct supervision of its naval and other mari- 
time concerns. Such removal was accordingly effected within a 
few days after the government was created. 2 

In an address to the people of Texas, published a few months 
after these events occurred, President Burnet says : 

Soon after the retreat of the Army from the Colorado, and its 
encampment in the dense 'forests of the Brazos, . . . the 
Government, then located at Harrisburg, directed the Secretary of 
War, . . . Thomas J. Rusk, to repair to the Army, for the 
purpose of conferring with the Commander-in-Chief. 3 
That officer remained with the army until after the battle of 21st 
April. 4 . . . 


The narrative of President Burnet continues thus: 

The rapid approaches of the enemy had compelled the govern- 
ment to abandon Harrisburg, 5 but after a transient dispersion 6 

1 Texas Almanac for I860, p. 51. 

2 Home Jouranl, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 8 ess., 13. 

'Rusk joined the army April 6. Brown, History of Texas, II 8. 

'Telegraph, September 6, 1836. 

"April 14 or 15. See: Delgado, Battle of San Jacinto, 32. 

""Sometimes, when Texas was a moving mass of fugitives, they [the gov- 
ernment] have been without a "local habitation" and scattered to the cardi- 
nal points: again they have been on Galveston Island, without shelter, 
and almost without subsistence," . . . (Burnet's first message to con- 
gress, House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 18.) 

It was, perhaps, about this time that President Burnet received the let- 
ter from the Nacogdoches Committee of Vigilance, dated April 6, 1836, 
stating "that under the present exigencies of the Country the most eligi- 

154 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

they reassembled at Galveston Island, which was then considered 
the last hope of the defense to Texas. The arrival of the army on 
Buffalo bayou was made known to us about the 19th of April, two 
days after the enemy were known to have captured New Washing- 
ton. On the 17th I had made a very narrow escape, with my 
family and some others, from the advance guard of the Mexican 
forces at that point. 1 As soon as we heard at the Island, of the 
arrival of Gen. Houston and his forces on Buffalo bayou, the steam- 
boat Cayuga was despatched, with a number of volunteers and 
some provisions for the relief and succor of our brave troops. 
The Secretary of the Navy was on board this boat. On the 2 3d 
or 23d, the steamboat Laura was also despatched with further sup- 
plies, and an additional number of volunteers. Mr. Hardiman the 
Secretary of the Treasury was one of those volunteers. This boat 
sustained some injury to her boiler and was detained some 24 or 
30 hours at Eed fish bar, after which she proceeded to the Texian 
camp. The news of the great battle did not reach me at the Island 
until the 26th, owing to the inclemency of the weather and the 
miserable quality of the boat in which the messengers made the 
trip. A special request was made to me by the Secretary of War, 
that I would repair to the Camp and as soon as the steamer Yellow 
Stone could procure a supply of wood, which required four or five 
days, I set out in that boat, with more provisions, and arrived at 
the Camp on Buffalo Bayou about the 1st of May. 2 


President Burnet continues : 

On my arrival at Camp, which had been recently removed fur- 
ther up the bayou to escape the offensive odors of the battle ground, 
I found the President Santa Anna and his suite occupying the only 
building in the vicinity. . . . 

ble place for the Seat of Government is Nacogdoches, and [that the com- 
mittee has been appointed] to invite You and all the Officers of the Gov- 
ernment to make this Your temporary residence." They set forth the 
healthfulnesg of the place, the good accommodations, the ample supplies, 
and above all the certain, safe and speedy communication with the United 
States. "Besides it appears to us that in the progress of the war You 
may be cut off from communication with the army. That they must rally 
in the woodlands is obvious, and in so doing they approach us and become 
more remote from your present position" [Harrisburg]. (Seat of Govern- 
ment Papers MS.) 

"There was then but one small house on the island." ( See : Brown, His- 
tory of Texas, II 55). 

*For the details of this episode, see Geo. M. Patrick to D. G. Burnet, in 
Telegraph, April 7, 1838. 

2 David G. Burnet to the People of Texas, in Telegraph, September 6, 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 155 

After the usual ceremonies were passed, I was informed that an 
Armistice had been entered into between General Houston and 
General Santa Anna. 1 . . . 

Such was the condition of things when I arrived at the camp 
on Buffalo Bayou. The members of the Cabinet were principally 
there. The worthy Vice President, Lorenzo de Zavala had pre- 
ceded me some days. The Secretary of State elect, the Hon. Samuel 
P. Carson, had been compelled by the infirmities of a delicate con- 
stitution, to relinquish the duties and fatigues of office, and he ob- 
tained permission to visit the United States. The vacancy was not 
filled until after the battle of the 21st April, when James Collins- 
worth who had raised his chivalry conspicuous amidst a crowd of 
heroes, was inducted to that office. Mr. Hardiman, the Secretary 
of the Treasury, reached the camp before me. The Secretary of 
the Navy was also there. The Secretary of War, Mr. Rusk, had 
been in camp for some weeks. Peter W. Grayson, Esq., was in- 
vited to and accepted the office of Attorney General, which had 
become vacant by the premature and accidental death of the Honor- 
able David Thomas, after I arrived at camp. 2 . . . 

Several days Bad been employed in this negotiation [the treaty 
with Santa Anna] and it became necessary for the army to move 
its quarters. A multitude of other concerns required the atten- 
tion of the Civil Government, and a general dispersion from Buffalo 
bayou ensued. The members of the administration, with General 
Santa Anna and most of the Mexican Officers taken in the battle, 
embarked in the steamboat Yellow Stone, for Galveston Island. 
The army on the same day took up its march for Harrisburg. 3 
The Mexican Commissioner, General Wall, was furnished with a 
safe-conduct from my hand, and with an escort by General Busk, 
and set out for the Mexican camp. The steamboat came to anchor 
at Galveston about sun down of the same day, and Santa Anna 
with his suite, was placed on board of the armed schooner Inde- 
pendence, under the command of Commodore Hawkins then lying 
at anchor in the harbor. 4 

l David G. Burnet to the People of Texas, in Telegraph, September 6, 

before the President and Cabinet left Camp San Jacinto, when it be- 
came apparent that General Houston would have to visit New Orleans to 
receive proper medical attention, Rusk was appointed to Houston's place 
and M. B. Lamar appointed to Rusk's place. . . . 

8 "0n the 4th or 5th of May, our army took up a line of march to the 
west." Telegraph, January 27, 1837; "May 5th, 1836, the President and 
cabinet, General Houston and Santa Anna and Suite, proceeded on the 
steamboat Yellowstone to Galveston." Brown, History of Texas, II 55. 

4 David G. Burnet to the People of Texas, in Telegraph, September 6 and 
13, 1836. 

156 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 


President Bui-net says further: 

The entire want of accommodation at the Island rendered it 
necessary for the government to seek some place where the ordinary 
office business could be transacted, and Velasco was selected for that 
purpose. Accordingly, in a few days we repaired 1 to Velasco, with 
the President Santa Anna and his retinue in company. The Vice 
President had been compelled to leave us at Buffalo bayou, to at- 
tend to his domestic affairs, which had been seriously interrupted 
by the appropriation of his homestead, to the purposes of a hos- 
pital for the wounded in the late battle. The Secretary of the 
Navy had obtained leave of absence consequently there were pres- 
ent at Velasco, the Secretary of State, James Collinsworth ; the 
Secretary of the Treasury, Baily Hardiman; the Sec of War, M. 
B. Lamar; the Attorney General, P. W. Grayson, and myself. 2 

Velasco enjoyed the distinction of being the summer resort "of 
great numbers of visitors from the north of the colony [Austin's], 
who came to enjoy the delightful sea-breezes, sea-bathing, and the 
comforts with which they are everywhere surrounded. Excellent 
accommodations . . . [could] always be obtained at boarding 
houses." 3 Here the seat of government of the new Eepublic, too, 
was fixed long enough to attain a degree of permanency it had not 
hitherto known: it remained there till the end of September, 1836. 
Yet it may be readily shown that even this place was ill provided 
with the necessary requisites for the seat of government ; President 
Burnet stated in his first message to congress that "never have 
they [the government] been in circumstances of comfort and con- 
venience suitable to the orderly conducting of the grave and mo- 
mentous business committed to their charge." 4 


After looking over the various places that might best serve the 
needs of a seat of government, President Burnet selected the town 
of Columbia. By proclamation, dated July 23, he called the first- 

x May 8, 1836. Brown, History of Texas, II 55. 

2 David G. Burnet to the People of Texas, in Telegraph, September 6 and 
13, 1836. 

"Holley, History of Texas, 121, 122. 
'House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 18. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 157 

congress to meet at this place on the first Monday in October, 
1836. Columbia, because of its more central location, had for a 
time been the seat of justice of the municipality of Columbia, but 
at this time Brazoria enjoyed that distinction. It contained a large 
hotel building, "besides a building or two constructed while it was 
the seat of the courts, for a court house, and offices, &c. and a few 
dwelling houses." 1 More important still was the fact that Colum- 
bia had been selected as their place of business by the publishers 
of the Telegraph and Texas Register. We have already had occa- 
sion to observe how potent was the influence of this paper in re- 
taining the seat of the provisional government at San Felipe. 
When San Felipe was about to fall into the hands of the enemy, 
the Telegraph at the invitation of the government followed the 
latter to Harrisburg. At this place, however, it was overtaken and 
destroyed by the Mexican troops. No doubt there was some under- 
standing between President Burnet and the publishers when it was 
determined to re-establish this paper. No one knew better and felt 
more the great need of a press for conducting the government than 
President Burnet. 1 The first number of the Telegraph to be issued 
at Columbia appeared on August 2, 1836. 

A committee of the business men of Columbia promised Presi- 
dent Burnet the following accommodations for the use of the gov- 
ernment : 

Volley, History of Texas, 113. 

''The experience of Texas during the first year of its existence as an in- 
dependent power bears abundant testimony to the fact that popular gov- 
ernment can not be carried on without the aid of the press. A means of 
regular communication between the government and the governed is essen- 
tial to the comfort and welfare of both. "The fact," says President Bur- 
net, "that we have heretofore been deprived of the benefits of a Press, the 
great vehicle of truth and error, is a prominent feature among the many 
difficulties and embarrassments that have compassed our path from the 
beginning, and I am persuaded it has contributed much to the censures 
that have been so liberally bestowed on the present Executive Govern- 
ment." (Telegraph, September 6, 1836.) "The situation of our country 
from the 15th of May till the 1st of August, for the want of a medium for 
disseminating information is well known, and was by many seriously felt. 
The operations of government not known by the army and people re- 
ports magnified want of confidence in the government, which perhaps 
was in a great measure, attributable to the want of information." (Edi- 
torial in Telegraph, January 27, 1837.) 

158 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Store house formerly occupied by Mr W C White 

with five rooms 5V 

House formerly occupied by J C Cole Rooms 2 
Old Alcaldes office with fire place IV 

Mrs. Sledges 1 Room & Stove 1 

Saml. Peebles 2 Rooms with Stoves 2 

House of Mr. Beards 20 feet square with stove 1 
Mr. Sampson with 2 Rooms and 1 fire place 2 

Hendricks Rooms with 2 fire places 2 

Mrs. Carson room with stove 1 

Col. Eberlys 2 Rooms 2V 

All the Chairs and Tables necessary for Both Houses of 

Sepr. 16, 1836. 

W. C. White & Co. 
Fitchell & Gill 
Jacob Eberly 
Geo Brown 
G. & T. H. Borden. 1 

The Telegraph of September 28, 1836, reports: 

Yesterday the citizens of this place appointed a committee to 
prepare the necessary buildings for the accommodation of Con- 
gress; and we believe that suitable and convenient rooms will be 

We understand that the citizens of Brazoria are also making ar- 
rangements ; and all we have to say on the subject is, that we would 
recommend congress to do its business where the best accommoda- 
tion is afforded. 

The first congress assembled Monday, October 3, 1836. Soon 
it became manifest that the committee of arrangements referred 
to above had either failed to procure a sufficient number of houses 
or else they had not contemplated the increase of offices accom- 
panying the organization of the constitutional government. 2 On 
October 22, the constitutional president and vice-president were 
inaugurated; November 7th President Houston sent the following 
message to congress on the subject of the proper accommodations 
for the government: 

1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess. State Department. 
^Senate Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., October 11, p. 15; Telegraph^ 
November 9, 1836. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 

Gentlemen : 

The important trusts committed to our charge as the representa- 
tives of a Nation and the guardians of her free institutions, de- 
mand at our hands, the arduous and incessant toils which responsi- 
bility and moral consciousness always impose, when they flow in 
their natural and appropriate channels. 

Industry and application, put in requisition by mature judgment, 
must still be conducted by system, organization and method; for 
these are necessary, and cannot be attained or exercised without 
the convenience of houses. 

The present position of our Government is one of great incon- 
venience and absolute embarrassment. We have accommodations 
for no branch of the public trusts. Congress is itself scarcely pro- 
vided as a body, with sufficient buildings. 1 No rooms are set apart 
for the Committees of your body. 1 No Offices for the Chief De- 
partments of the Executive branch of Government, 3 and the per- 
sonal accommodations of all are very deficient. 

The Head of no Department can now transact with convenience 
the functions devolving upon him. The Secretary of the Treasury, 
and all his Subordinate Officers, are without rooms and without 

'"The accommodations were meager in every respect, but there was 
available a commodious house (for that day), with large rooms on the 
ground floor, separated by a wide hallway, with other rooms for commit- 
tee and clerical purposes. Each house occupied one of the large rooms. 
This house at first accommodated the government only in part, other 
houses being also utilized." Brown, History of Texas, II 99, 100. 

"The different governmental bodies of Texas, as the Consultation, the 
Provisional Government, and the Government ad interim, had met at 
various points in small frame buildings or shanties, and when the first 
congress of the Constitutional Government assembled at Columbia, each 
house had to occupy a small frame building." Lubbock, Memoirs, 48. 

2 0n October llth, the senate appointed a committee to confer with the 
committee of arrangements for the purpose of procuring the rooms con- 
tiguous to the senate chamber for the use of the different senate commit- 
tees. When cold weather set in, the senate despatched their door-keeper 
to Brazoria for a stove. The house of representatives, on November 4th, 
ordered the "two rooms occupied by the auditor and comptroller, which 
had been appropriated by the committee of arrangements for the use of 
this house to be cleared for the special use of the officers and members of 
this house." They also suffered from cold. Senate Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 
1 8ess., 15, 65; House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 121, 180. 

s October 27th, Mr. Wharton moved to allow the president and his pri- 
vate secretaries to retain possession of their rooms during the secret ses- 
sions of the senate; . . . which motion was lost. Senate Journal, 
1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 33. 

The State Department occupiBd a small clapboard shedroom, without 
fire, which in addition served as Austin's bedroom and office. It was the 
exposure to which he was subjected while working here that brought on 
the illness that terminated his life. Comprehensive History of Texas, 
I 590. 

160 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

any place to perform his highly important business. 1 The dis- 
charged soldiers of our Army, are now waiting on great expense 
for their honest dues at the hands of that Officer. The financial 
concerns of Government, will be deranged and our credit at home 
and abroad will be depreciated. 

I would call your particular and immediate attention to this 
subject; and am compelled by my station to suggest that business 
cannot profitably proceed, unless Congress will adjourn to some 
point, where better accommodations and greater conveniences can 
be speedily obtained or buildings furnished at this place. 

To induce the meeting of Congress at this point, nineteen rooms 
for offices had been promised but the pledges remain unredeemed. 
The pledge given is herewith enclosed. 12 

Sam Houston. 3 

It is not surprising that, under circumstances such as are de- 
scribed above, the location of the seat of government at some con- 
venient point early engaged the attention of the first congress. As 
early as November 2d, the senate adopted a joint resolution pro- 

That each house of congress appoint a committee of three, whose 
duty it shall be to report the most eligible point at which to locate 
the seat of government of this republic, from and after the ad- 
journment of the present congress, up to the year of our Lord, 
eighteen hundred and . 4 

"'Agreeably to a resolution adopted this morning by the house of rep- 
resentatives," writes a correspondent of the Telegraph for November 9, 
1836, "a notification has been given to the secretary of the navy, auditor, 
and controller of public accounts, to vacate the rooms occupied by them, 
for the accommodation of the clerks of the house; consequently these offi- 
cers are compelled to suspend business until other rooms can be procured. 
The rapidly increasing number of certificates of discharged soldiers, and 
the constant presentation of claims to be audited, imperiously require that 
the business of the officers of auditor and controller should not be sus- 
pended. The number of persons in the service of the government, and the 
representatives of both houses, besides the influx of strangers visiting the 
place, is considerable, and affords a handsome revenue to the citizens of 
this place. I would then, Mr. Editor, suggest to the citizens of Columbia, 
the propriety of endeavoring to procure nouses or rooms for the public 
business, with as little delay as possible; otherwise, the government will 
be necessarily compelled to remove to Brazoria, or elsewhere, to meet ac- 
commodations to suit their exigencies." 

2 See page 158 above for a list of the rooms promised. Perhaps only those 
marked (V) had been placed at the service of the government at this 
time. The whole expense of providing accommodations appears to have 
fallen upon the citizens, as congress made no offer to rent buildings. See 
Telegraph, November 9, 1836., and December 13, 1836. 

S MS. Messages of 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess. State Department. 

'Senate Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 39. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 161 

No record is made of the adoption of this resolution by the house 
of representatives, hut on November 8th, it selected its committee 
in accordance with the terms of said resolution, and referred to 
it the president's message quoted above. 1 Both committees 
reported November llth that they had failed to agree; the senate 
committee favored Groce's Retreat, now called San Jacinto; the 
house committee recommended Nacogdoches. Both suggested that 
a joint committee be sent to Brazoria "there to enquire into, and 
learn what description of houses for the accommodation of con- 
gress, for offices, committee rooms, and other accommodations, can 
be obtained, and upon what terms." 2 Instead of adopting the 
course suggested, which was in all probability merely another 
temporary makeshift, the house referred the report "to the stand- 
ing committee on the state of the Eepublic, with instructions to 
report a bill locating the seat of government, by joint vote of both 
houses." 3 In pursuance of these instructions the committee re- 
ported, on November 14th, "an act locating temporarily the seat 
of government," which was passed. 4 

This act of congress made the selection of a temporary site for 
the seat of government a subject of competition among the various 
aspirants to that honor. Unfortunately the promises or bids of 
some of the more important places have not been preserved; the 
following, however, will serve to indicate their general trend: 

(1) From Columbia. 

To the Hon. the Senate and House of Representatives of the Re- 
public of Texas in Congress assembled : 

The Undersigned most respectfully represents to Your Honle. 
Body that, in their opinion, no place, for the Seat of Government 
of this Republic, until the year 1840, is more eligibly situated to 
subserve the people generally than theirs at Hidalgo they, there- 
fore, make to your Honourable Body the following Proposal, Viz 
The Undersigned will set off 640 English acres of land from their 
sitio, such as commissioners appointed by Your Hon. Body shall 

*House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 131. 

^Senate Journal,! Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 49; House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 
1 Sess., 146. 

3 House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 147; Flavel, Report of the Pro- 
ceedings of the House of Representatives, 134. 

*House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 150, 168; Senate Journal, 1 Tex. 
Cong., 1 Sess., 58, 62. 

162 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

select, as nearly in the form of a square as may be done; that the 
said 640 acres shall be well surveyed and platted, by the Under- 
signed, at their own expense; that the sd. Commissioners may then 
select one or two square Blocks on which to erect the Government 
Buildings that -the whole of the rest shall be laid off into town lots 
of the most convenient size, as directed by your Commissioners 
and that, when so done, the Undersigned agree to convey to the 
Government a Title for the said two Blocks above-mentioned and 
that the proceeds of the sales of all the lots laid off in sd. Town 
shall be equally divided between the Undersigned and the Govern- 

Monday, Nov. 28, 1836 
Town of Columbia 

Very respectfully the Undersigned 

Martin Clow & others 1 

(2) From Washington on the Brazos. 

To The Honorable Congress of the Eepublic of Texas, the under- 
signed citizen of the County of Washington respectfully represents 
That he is one of the Proprietors of the Town of Washington, and 
learning that various places are proposed for the temporary loca- 
tion of the Seat of Government for this Eepublic until the year 
(1840) begs leave to represent to your Honorable body that he will 
give and Grant and Hereby does give and Grant to the Government 
of the Eepublic of Texas in fee simple a sufficiency of the freehold 
within the limits of said Town to be selected (by a commissioner 
appointed by your Honorable body for that purpose) in the most 
eligible part thereof, for the erection of such public buildings as 
may be necessary and deemed expedient on condition that said 
Town shall at any time within one year from this date become the 
Seat of Government for this Eepublic. Your orator would further 
say, That he is aware that propositions seemingly more liberal 
have been made by other individuals similarly circumstanced in 
other Towns; but your orator believing that public convenience 
rather than individual interest to be, the Great end of your de- 
liberations; thus submits, this his proposition to the consideration 
of your Honorable body. The Town of Washington is situated on 
the west bank of the Brazos river and is rapidly improving, sur- 
rounded by an extensive agricultural population, well watered with 
springs of healthy and pure water, and in point of locality, more 
central than any other inhabited Town now proposed to your 

1 MS. 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sesa. State Department. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 163 

Honorable body as the temporary Seat of Government for this 
Eepublic. Your orator with respect begs audience &c &c &c 

Thos Gay 
November 21st 1836 1 

(3) From Fort Bend. 

The memorial of Thomas H. Borden and others, to the honor- 
able the House of Representatives, respectfully presents proposals 
for the selection of PORT BEND as the future Seat of Government. 

Fort Bend is situated on a high, healthy prairie, bluffing to the 
Brazos river; bounded on the north, east and west by the Brazos, 
and lying open to the refreshing breezes of the south. 

Your memorialist begs to call attention to the fact that a steam 
navigation is regularly established from the mouth of the river, and 
not obstructed at any season of the year by any ordinary event. 
This advantage of navigation is not prospective, 2 but in actual 
operation; nor is there any bar (such as Ked Fish Bar,) with occa- 
sionally not more than three feet of water, or a reef, (such as that 
from New Washington to Shaw's at the mouth of the Jacinto 
river to impede the import of New Orleans produce. 

The influx of commerce already established at Velasco from the 
United States, not equalled in any inlet or harbor of Texas, must 
always secure, independent of regular freight for Fort Bend, a 
constant supply of provisions, an advantage not possessed by any 
proposed location before your honorable house; and in the absence 
of all supplies from the States, there is no part of Texas, where a 
town has not been -already located, possessing greater internal sup- 
plies than Fort Bend, a resident neighborhood of farmers, whose 
supplies of provisions, butter, poultry, eggs, &c. &c., cannot fail to 
render the advantages of Fort Bend unrivalled. 

Your memorialist further refers to the testimony of of the last 
fourteen years, for the salubrity and healthiness of the location; 
no fatal malady having ever prevailed there, and the water is 
proverbial for its superiority. Your memorialist offers to build 
suitable houses for the congress and officers of government, and 
not to be let at a rental nor assessed at a price, but to be DONATED 
to the government, as long as they are pleased to use them: and 
your memorialist will grant lots to persons competent to superin- 
tend houses of public entertainment, to be erected under the di- 
rection of your memorialist and others. In all of which, he binds 
himself in dollars; if required, to comply 

J MS. 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess. State Department. 

2 ]Sro boat had as yet ascended Buffalo Bayou to the prospective site of 
the city of Houston. 

164 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

with his proposals by the first of April, 1837. Your memorialist 
has adopted the mode of comparison as that best calculated to 
narrow the subject of inquiry and facilitate the conclusions of 
your honorable body on the respective advantages of a suitable 

I am, gentlemen, 

Your obedient servant, 

For self and others. 1 

A correspondent of the Telegraph (November 23, 1836) makes 
the following interesting comments on the situation. He makes 
the earliest suggestion of the plan that was adopted in 1839 for 
defraying the cost of erecting the government buildings. He might 
also well be credited with planting the idea that matured when in 
1875 three million acres of public land were set aside for the erec- 
tion of the present granite capitol. 

Messrs. Editors : The question is agitated to a considerable ex- 
tent, what particular point in the Eepublic is to be fixed upon for 
the seat of government, and as a natural concomitant, much sec- 
tional jealousy has arisen on the subject. 

Petitions have been presented to Congress I believe from some 
half dozen cities, viz. Houston, Matagorda, Fort Bend, Columbia, 
Washington, Groces Ketreat, &c. and, some of those very important 
cities whose peculiar advantages are so handsomely portrayed upon 
paper, like paddy's house which wanted nothing but building to 
make it complete, require nothing but houses to make them 
what they are represented to be. In these petitions very lib- 
eral proposals are made to the government as it regards the erec- 
tion of public buildings. Indeed the different contending parties 
interested in the matter all seem determined not to be outdone 
in their liberal offers. Now believing myself that we could not 
be better accommodated at present at any of the places spoken of 
than at Columbia, I would enquire whether it would not be as well 
to remain where we are during the present session of congress, and 
for that body to select and set apart a certain portion of the public 
domain, in an eligible situation for the capital, lay off the ground 
in town lots and sell them at auction, reserving such as may be 
necessary for all the public departments. And whether we would 
not by this means raise a sufficient fund to erect all the houses re- 
quired and by so doing put a stop to all petitions on the subject 

1 Seat of Government Papers. Broadside. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 


and let the attention of congress be directed to matters of more 
importance to the country. 

The contest closed on November 30th, when the two houses of 
congress met in joint session for the purpose of fixing the location 
of the seat of government until the year 1840. 

The speaker informed the house that it would be expected the 
members of both houses of Congress would make such nomina- 
tions as they might think proper. Whereupon Mr. Branch nomi- 
nated the town of Houston, on Buffalo Bayou; Mr. Archer nomi- 
nated the town of Matagorda; Mr. Hill nominated the town of 
Washington ; Mr. Green nominated the towns of Velasco and Quin- 
tana ; Mr. Rowe nominated the town of Nacogdoches ; Mr. Senator 
Kobertson nominated the town of Hidalgo ; Mr. senator Moorhouse 
nominated the town of Refugio; Mr. Billingsly nominated the 
place called Fort Bend; Mr. Chenoweth nominated the town of 
Goliad; Mr. Archer nominated Groce's Retreat, or San Jacinto; 1 
Mr. Senator Ruis nominated the town of Bexar; Mr. Geraghty 
nominated the town of San Patricio; Mr. senator Everette nomi- 
nated the town of Brazoria; Mr. Senator Grimes nominated the 
town of Orozimbo. 2 

The vote, which was taken viva voce, may be tabulated as fol- 
lows. 3 

Name of Place. 

1st Ballot. 

2d Ballot. 

3d Ballot. 

4th Ballot. 
















Velasco and Quintana 










Fort Bend 


Goliad , 



Groce's Retreat or San Jacinto 





San Patricio 




'San Jacinto was the name proposed for the seat of government should 
it be located at Groce's Retreat. 

2 Touse Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 8ess., 211. 

The House Journal, 211-213, gives the names of the persons voting for 
each place at each ballot. 

166 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Twenty-one votes being a majority of the vote cast, the speaker 
proclaimed the town of Houston as duly selected. This decision 
was embodied in an act, approved by President Houston on De- 
cember 15, 1836, which declared that "from and after the first day 
of April next, the seat of government for the republic of Texas 
shall be established at the town of Houston, on Buffalo Bayou, 
until the end of the session of congress which shall assemble in the 
year one thousand eight hundred and forty"; and the president 
was authorized "to cause to be erected a building for the temporary 
accommodation of the congress of the republic, and such other 
buildings as may be necessary for the accommodation of the differ- 
ent departments of the government, at the said seat of government : 
provided, the sum or sums so expended shall not exceed fifteen 
thousand dollars." 

The location having been made by a bare majority, much dis- 
satisfaction existed with regard to the choice of Houston. Presi- 
dent Houston, although he approved the bill, claimed to have dis- 
approved of the location; Anson Jones characterized this act as one 
of the three that "constituted a perfect 'selling out' of Texas to 
a few individuals, or, at least, of everything that was available in 
1836." 1 

Congress adjourned on December 22, 1836, and one would be 
inclined to suppose that this subject would have been permitted 
to rest for the time. However, the Telegraph of January 3, 1837, 
finds occasion to make the following editorial remarks: 

We have just understood that it is proposed the heads of the 
departments of our government should remove to Grocers Retreat, 
upwards of ninety miles above this place. To this remove many 
objections might be urged. Want of houses and accommodations 
for the different departments, as well as for persons having busi- 
ness with them. The great distance it would be from the army, 
the inconvenience which would necessarily attend the navy, aud- 
itor's and pay-master's departments, whose several duties are more 
connected with persons in the lower part of the country. 

Intelligence, as well as supplies of provisions, munitions of war, 
&c. are much easier of attainment near the coast, than at so great 

'Jones, Republic of Texas, 18, 19; cf. statement of Thomas J. Rusk, in 
Weeks, Debates of the Texas Convention [1845], 206, and Thos. J. Green, 
Reply to the Speech of Sam Houston, delivered in U. 8. Senate, Aug. 1, 
1854, p. 60. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 167 

a distance from water communication. The objections which have 
formerly been urged against this place, viz. Want of houses, health 
and accommodation in a great measure now cease to exist. The 
breaking up of congress has given us more room. Most of the 
departments are now accommodated with suitable offices. The 
health of Columbia during the winter is good, and we can see no 
possible motive for the contemplated remove, and especially when 
another to Hoiiston must necessarily take place before the govern- 
ment could get settled at Groce's retreat. 


The first notice in print of the town of Houston perhaps, the 
first notice of any sort appeared in the Telegraph of August 30, 
1836, in the form of an advertisement: 

The Town of Houston, 

Situated at the head of navigation, on the West bank of Buffalo 
Bayou, is now for the first time brought to public notice because, 
until now, the proprietors were not ready to offer it to the public, 
with the advantages of capital and improvements. 

The town of Houston is located at a point on the river which 
must ever command the trade of the largest and richest portion of 
Texas. By reference to the map, it will be seen that the trade of 
San Jacinto, Spring Creek, New Kentucky and the Brazos, above 
and below Fort Bend, must necessarily come to this place, and will 
at this time warrant the employment of at least One Million Dol- 
lars of capital, and when the rich lands of this country shall be 
settled, a trade will flow to it, making it, beyond all doubt, the 
great interior commercial emporium of Texas. 

The town of Houston is distant 15 miles from the Brazos river, 
30 miles, a little North of East, from San Felipe, 60 miles from 
Washington, 40 miles from Lake Creek, 30 miles South West from 
New Kentucky, and 15 miles by water from and 8 or 10 by land 
above Harrisburg. Tide water runs to this place and the lowest 
depth of water is about six feet. Vessels from New Orleans or 
New York can sail without obstacles to this place, and steamboats 
of the largest class can run down to Galveston Island in 8 or 10 
hours, in all seasons of the year. . . . Galveston harbor being 
the only one in which vessel 5 drawing a large draft of water can 
navigate, must necessarily render the Island the great naval and 
commercial depot of the country. 

The town of Houston must be the place where arms, ammunition 
and provisions for the government will be stored, because, situated 

168 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

in the very heart of the country, it combines security and the means 
of easy distribution, and a national armory will no doubt very soon 
be established at this point. 

There is no place in Texas more healthy, having an abundance of 
excellent spring water, and enjoying the sea breeze in all its fresh- 
ness. No place in Texas possesses so many advantages for build- 
ing, having Pine, Ash, Cedar, and Oak in inexhaustible quantities ; 
also the tall and beautiful Magnolia grows in abundance. In the 
vicinity are fine quarries of stone. 

Nature appears to have designated this place for the future seat 
of Government. It is handsome and beautifully elevated, salu- 
brious and well watered, and now in the very heart or centre of 
population, and will be so for a length of time to come. It com- 
bines two important advantages: a communication with the coast 
and foreign countries, and with the different portions of the re- 
public. As the country shall improve, rail roads will become in 
use, and will be extended from this point to the Brazos, and up 
the same, also from this up to the headwaters of San Jacinto, em- 
bracing that rich country, and in a few years the whole trade of the 
upper Brazos will make its way into Galveston Bay through this 

Preparations are now making to erect a water Saw Mill, and a 
large Public House for accommodation, will soon be opened. 
Steamboats now run in this river, and will in a short time com- 
mence running regularly to the Island. 

The proprietors offer the lots for sale on moderate terms to those 
who desire to improve them, and invite the public to examine for 

A. C. Allen, for A. C. & J. K. Allen. 1 
August 30, 1836. 

The town of Houston had not been selected by either half of the 
joint committee appointed to select a site for the seat of govern- 
ment. Houston appeared, however, among the competitors, when 
it was determined to locate the seat of government by joint vote of 
the two houses of congress. The proposals of A. C. & J. K. Allen 
are represented to have been "replete with most cogent reasons for 
the selection of the town of Houston." 2 John K. Allen was a mem- 
ber of the house of representatives from Nacogdoches. The selec- 
tion of the site, the naming of the place, the presentation of the 
advantages of Houston, and the success in securing the temporary 

l For a brief sketch of A. C. & J. K. Allen, see Lubbock, Memoirs, 45. 
2 Falvel, Report of the Proceedings of the House of Representatives, 1 
Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 157. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 169 

location of the seat of government constitute a high testimonial 
to the shrewdness, sagacity and enterprise of the promoters of the 
city of Houston. It marks the beginning of one of the few suc- 
cessful speculations of this kind, so numerous in that day. The 
meagreness of information in regard to the new city appears from 
the care with which the proprietors define its location. 1 Not a 
building marked the town site when the seat of government was 
located there. 2 The first lot was sold on January 19, 1837. 3 These 
facts may have proved an advantage rather than a disadvantage. 
The town certainly had no old enemies; no tangible objections in 
the form of insufficient accommodations were present; and the 
possibilities of the future were no doubt duly magnified. 

The government was to have removed to Houston by April 1, 
1837; but for want of the necessary buildings the executive de- 
partments were not transferred from Columbia until April 16th. 4 
No mention of the removal is made in the Telegraph, for the rea- 
son, perhaps, that the Telegraph and the government made the 
trip to Houston in the same vessel. If so, they did not arrive at 
their destination until April 27th only a few days before the 
meeting of the adjourned session of the first congress, May 1st. 
In consequence of the late removal the reports of the several de- 
partments were not ready for presentation to congress until May 
19th. 5 

Prior to its removal, the Telegraph stated : "We are highly grat- 
ified in stating that the process of building is rapidly advancing 
at Houston; the offices intended for the reception of the several 
departments of government, will soon be completed; the building 
also intended for our press is nearly finished." 6 However, on 
reaching Houston a month after, it had this to say of its new office 
and of the government building : 'like others who have confided 
in speculative things, we have been deceived : no building had ever 
been nearly finished at Houston intended for the press ; fortunately, 

1 See paragraph three of the advertisement above. 
"Lubbock, Memoirs, 46. 

3 Statement of James S. Holman, agent for the proprietors of the town 
site, in Telegraph, August 12, 1837. 
^Telegraph, March 17, 1838. 

'President's Message, in House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., 44, 47. 
"Telegraph, March 21, 1837. 

170 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

however, we have succeeded in renting a shanty, which, although 
like the capital in this place, 

'Without a roof, and without a floor, 
Without -windows and without a door/ 

is the only convenient building obtainable," 1 . . . 

It will be remembered 'that $15,000 had nominally been placed 
at the command of the president with which "to cause to be erected 
a building suitable for the temporary accommodations of the con- 
gress of the republic, and such other buildings as may be necessary 
for the accommodation of the different departments of the govern- 
ment." This sum, even had it been available, which it was not, 2 
was entirely inadequate to meet the purposes apparently contem- 
plated, in view of the high prices of labor as well as building ma- 
terials. 3 However, it is probable that it was never the intention 
that the president should have the buildings referred to erected. 
The Messrs. Allen certainly offered to construct them; 4 and 
Mr. Borden, in his proposal of Fort Bend, suggests that the build- 
ings so erected were to be rented or else "assessed at a price" at 
which they should be purchased by the government. 5 So, too, Mr. 
Lubbock in his Memoirs states that 

The Aliens had undertaken to provide a capitol building at 
Houston, but fearing they might not have it ready for the meeting 
of Congress on the 1st of May, erected on Main Street a one-story 
building covering the front of an entire block. At one corner of 
the block a large room was constructed for the Senate, and at the 
other corner a larger one for the House of Representatives, and the 
space between partitioned off into rooms for the department of- 
fices. Col. Thos. W. Ward was the capitol contractor under the 
Aliens. The work was not begun till the 16th of April, but it 
was pushed with such energy that the eapitol, though not finished, 

telegraph, May 2, 1837. 

2 "The demands on our Treasury, since the adjournment of Congress, have 
been great, without the, means of meeting them," . . . President's 
Message, May 5, 1837. 

"Lubbock, Memoirs, 47, 54; Telegraph, May 2, 1837. 

*"Mr. Branch read further proposals from Mr. Allen binding himself 
in ^the sum of ten thousand dollars, or such bond as Government may re- 
quire, that all necessary buildings for congress, and the clerks shall be 
erected by the first of April, 1837." Falvel, Report of the Proceedings of 
the House of Representatives, Nov. 21, 1836, p. 161. 

B Page 163 above. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 171 

was far enough, advanced to accommodate Congress and the heads 
of departments. Accordingly, on May 1st, the adjourned session 
of the First Congress met in the respective chambers, 1 "fitted up 
and furnished for business." 

The last statement "fitted up and furnished for business" 
must be considerably qualified, else the reader will be misled. For 
instance, J. J. Audubon notes in his diary on May 4, 1837 : 

Meanwhile, we amused ourselves by walking in the capitol, which 
was yet without a roof, and the floors, benches, and tables of both 
houses of congress were as well saturated with water as our clothes 
had been in the morning. 2 

Again, the official record of the proceedings of the house of rep- 
resentatives for May 10, 1837, says: "The members assembled ac- 
cording to adjournment, but owing to the storm of the preceding 
night, and the insufficiency of the building, the floor being flooded 
with watei, and the hall unfit for the transaction of business, on 
motion, adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock." 3 May 
15, an effort was made in the senate to have a special committee ap- 
pointed "to obtain a room for the senate to meet in the present 
session." 4 And on May 20, a motion was made in the house to have 
Major Ward, the contractor, discontinue "such labor on this house 
as disturbs the deliberations of congress during the hours of its 
session." 5 

Nor was congress worse situated than the various departments 
of the executive. Neither was the want of accommodation expe- 
rienced alone in the transaction of official business. The new city 
did not possess the conveniences required by the members of con- 
gress and the visitors who had business with the government. The 
discomforts that resulted from this situation, together with the 
dissatisfaction over the original choice of Houston that still lurked 
in many minds, presented a source of discontent and a fruitful 
soil for all sorts of plans in regard to the future location of the 
seat of government. The consideration of these plans will form 
the subject of a subsequent paper. 

1 House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 2 Sess., 1; Senate Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 
2 Sess., 1. 

"Quoted by Lubbock, in his Memoirs, 53. 
'House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 2 Sess., 20. 
*Senate Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 2 Sess., 10. 
'House Journal, 1 Tex. Cong., 2 Sess., 51. 

172 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 



The following facts regarding the birthplace and kindred of Cap- 
tain Oliver Jones were obtained from his grand-nephew, David N. 
Harris, a respected citizen of Wallis, Texas. The other statements 
are matters of historical record together with treasured recollec- 
tions of friends of Oliver Jones. 

Captain Oliver Jones was born in the city of New York. He 
had one brother, Benjamin, and two sisters, Mary and Phoebe. 
The brother, Benjamin, married and had a large family, of which 
one son, John, continued to live in New York City, and the others 
all moved to the West and settled in Illinois. Some years before 
the war between the States, Benjamin Jones made a visit to his 
brother Oliver at his home in Texas, and upon his return trip to 
New York, which was to have been made by water from Galveston, 
he reached the latter place while cholera was prevailing in the city, 
and is supposed to have died there of that disease, since he was 
never heard of afterward. 

Oliver Jones's sister Mary married David Smith, and their de- 
scendants all eventually came to Texas. They had one son and 
three daughters. Their son, David, moved to New Orleans, mar- 
ried, and had four children ; during the war between the States he 
was lost at sea between New Orleans and New York. One of the 
daughters, Sarah Smith, married and died without issue; another, 
Kate, married Dorsey Mason and bore him three sons, all of them 
dying unmarried except Thomas, who is still living at Galveston. 
After the death of Mr. Mason, she married Frank Fabj, by whom 
she had four sons; of these, but two are living, Eobert, in Wyo- 
ming, and Lee, in Galveston, Texas. The third daughter, Mary, 
married David Harris, and they had six children, three daughters 
and three sons, viz. : Phoebe, Mary, and Emma, Joseph, David N., 
and Oliver Jones. Joseph was among the first to enlist as a Con- 

Sketch of Oliver Jones and His Wife, Rebecca Jones. 173 

federate soldier at the beginning of the war; he was stationed at 
Dickinson's Bayou near Galveston, and died six months after his 
enlistment. There are now but two of this family living, David N. 
Harris, a merchant at Wallis, Texas, and Oliver Jones Harris, 
who lives on part of the old Oliver Jones homestead tract in Waller 
County, Texas. 

Phoebe, the other sister of Oliver Jones, was married to Joseph 
Watts, and their descendants settled in Mississippi and Louisiana, 
but eventually they all came to Texas to live. One of their daugh- 
ters, Phoebe, died unmarried, the other, Maggie, made her home for 
a number of years with her uncle, Oliver, and married Captain T. 
S. Hammitt; after his death she was married to Jesse O'Brian, of 
Bellville. She died without issue. After the death of Joseph 
Watts, his widow contracted a second marriage with a Mr. Fro- 
yard. They had two children, sons, William and Hiram. William 
went to California, and has been lost trace of; Hiram moved to 
Mississippi and married a Mrs. Newell. Their only son, Oliver 
Jones Froyard, served with Lee in Virginia during the war be- 
tween the States, and is now living at Wallis, Texas, with his son 
Oliver Jones Froyard, Jr. 

By this it will be seen that the name Oliver Jones, is treasured 
by the family, it having been transmitted through three generations 
as a token of regard for one who might well serve as an exemplar 
of all that goes to make true manhood. 

No record has been preserved by tlae family of the early life of 
Oliver Jones, but it is probable that he was in the service of the 
United States during the war with Great Britain, 1812-14; for in 
his youth he was made prisoner, and was so disgusted at the indif- 
ference of his government in not taking active measures to bring 
about the release of himself and others that finally, when he was 
once more at liberty, he vowed never again to live under such a 
government. He made his way to Mexico, and there met with 
Stephen F. Austin while the latter was in the City of Mexico work- 
ing to secure the grant needed to authorize the establishment of his 
colony in Texas. Jones immediately determined to become one of 
his colonists; and the records show that on August 10th, 1824, he 
received title to a sitio and labor of land, in what are now Brazoria 
and Austin Counties, receiving his title from Commissioner Baron 

174 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

de Bastrop. From 1829 to 1830 he was Alguacil, or sheriff, of the 
Colony. In 1829, as chosen captain of fifty men, he led them from 
San Felipe de Austin in pursuit of hostile Indians. Captain Bart- 
lett Simms was in command of another company organized for the 
same purpose, and the two companies under the command of Cap- 
tain Abner Kuykendall scoured the country from the Brazos to 
the mouth of the San Saba river. 

In 1833 he was a member of the second convention of the people 
of Texas, which assembled at San Felipe de Austin, on April 1st 
of that year. Through the memoranda of one of its members, 
Major James Kerr, a full list of the delegates has been obtained, 
and among them Oliver Jones is recorded as having been appointed 
one of a committee to draft a Constitution for the State of Texas, 
to be forwarded to the Mexican Congress for approval. The futil- 
ity of this effort to obtain separate statehood for Texas is well 

The following year, Austin, Oliver Jones, and J. A. Vasquez were 
elected from Texas to serve in the Legislature of Coahuila and 
Texas, Texas being allowed three representatives. But, as Austin 
was then in prison in Mexico, Jones and Vasquez were the only 
representatives. They were powerless to stem the tide of spoliation 
and corruption ; the revolution in other portions 'of Mexico spread 
to Coahuila, and before the end of the session the first steps towards 
the participation of Texas in the struggle against the arbitrary 
power of Santa Anna had been taken. 

As to the part taken by Oliver Jones, it is well known that he 
was a warm supporter of the measures advocated by Henry Smith, 
William B. Travis and others, for creating a local government in 
Texas, and was a prominent participator in the revolution. In 
1837 we find his name among the representatives in the .Congress 
of the Independent Republic of Texas, he having succeeded Mosely 
Baker, who had removed from Austin County to Harris County. 
In 1838 when Congress assembled at Houston, his name was regis- 
tered as Senator from Austin County, succeeding Alexander Somer- 
vell. As member of the Senate in this Congress, he had the honor 
of being appointed chairman of a committee to recommend the de- 
sign of a flag for the Republic of Texas, and on January 4th, 1839, 

Sketch of Oliver Jones and His Wife, Rebecca Jones. 175 

he presented the design adopted- by the committee accompanying 
the presentation with the following words: 

"The committee beg leave to make some remarks on the ground 
upon which their conclusion is formed. The President ad interim 
devised the National flag and seal, as it were, in the case of emer- 
gency, adopting the flag of the United States of America with little 
variation, which act was subsequently ratified by the law of De- 
cember 10th, 1836. The then adopted flag was expedient for the 
time being, and has been specially beneficial to the navy and mer- 
chantmen, on account of being so much blended with the flag of 
the United States. But the emergency has passed, and the future 
prospects of Texas are of such a flattering nature that her inde- 
pendence requires that her arms, seal and standard should assume 
an independent character, by a form which will not blend them 
with those of any other nation. Besides these considerations, the 
committee would beg to state that, inasmuch as the proposition 
made by this republic in her incipient stage of national existence 
to the United States of America for an annexation to the Amer- 
ican Confederacy has been withdrawn by the minister plenipotenti- 
ary of the government at the court of Washington, and as the wish 
of the majority of the people of Texas, so far as is publicly known, 
is in favor of sustaining an independent station among the nations 
of the earth, we regard the transaction of the single star into the 
American constellation and the merging of the single Texan stripes 
with the thirteen stripes of the United States of America inex- 

"The Committee are convinced of the necessity of adopting a 
separate and distinct standard and arms for the Eepublic. . . . 
Therefore, your Committee beg leave to offer a substitute amend- 
ing the original bill referred to them, accompanying the same with 
a specimen of the arms, the seal, and the standard." 

The National Standard, Seal and Arms, then recommended, 
which were adopted and finally approved on January 25th, 1839, 
were used by the Kepublic of Texas until its annexation to the 
United States, when slight changes in the lettering were made in 
the seal and coat of arms, the word "State" being substituted for 
"Republic." "The State flag is the same as that of the Republic 
recommended by the Senate committee of which Oliver Jones was 

176 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

chairman. On February 19th, 1846, it protected the commerce and 
floated over the capitol of the Republic ; on that day it was lowered 
to give place to the Stars and Stripes. 

The presentation of the design for this flag by Oliver Jones was 
the consummation of the dearest wish of his life, viz. : to see Texas 
represented among nations by her own symbols of independence. 
He continued to take a lively interest in the service of the Re- 
public, and in 1845 was enrolled as a member of the Annexation 
Convention which made Texas a State of the Union. Long after 
his term of active service had expired, his counsel was valued and 
sought by those who shaped the policy of the new State. 

In person Oliver Jones was pleasing, being tall and erect in figure, 
of fair complexion, and with regular features. His broad, high fore- 
head betokened intellectuality, while the kindly expression of his 
eyes tempered the firmness of his lines about the lower part of his 
face. His character was that of a very kind nature, but of in- 
flexible integrity; all the records or recollections of his life prove 
his stern determination in the discharge of duty. When running 
for office he was independent and outspoken as to his opinions; 
and upon one occasion, when told that his attitude concerning cer- 
tain questions would not be acceptable to some voters of his dis- 
trict, he sent them word that he would rather not be elected than to 
go into office by the votes of men who held views so opposed to his 
own. Mrs. Anson Jones, an old friend of his, tells some touching 
incidents in illustration of his kindness of heart and generosity 
of nature. His friendship was of the kind that is not content with 
spoken proofs, but, wherever possible, resolved itself into action 
which bore speedy results. On one occasion, at a period of great 
sorrow and distress in Mrs. Jones's family, when he could not reach 
them directly on account of swollen streams, he rode on horseback 
fifty miles around, in order to tender his sympathy and financial 
help, should she stand in need of such assistance. 

Oliver Jones first met his wife at Austin, then the seat of gov- 
ernment, in 1840. Her maiden name was Rebecca Greenleaf. She 
was born at Dorchester, Massachusetts, December, 1798, of a 
family of seafaring people. She came to Texas in 1834 in com- 
pany with her first husband, Ira Westover, and their adopted son. 
Starting from Jeffersonville, Kentucky, they journeyed down the 

Sketch of Oliver Jones and His Wife, Rebecca Jones. 177 

river to New Orleans on a flat bottomed boat, at that time the only 
means of river transportation in common use; and from New Or- 
leans they took passage on board a schooner bound for Texas, and 
settled in the San Patricio Colony. Among the many warm friends 
of Rebecca Westover, afterwards Mrs. Jones, were David Ayers and 
his family, who were fellow passengers on the schooner. By reason 
of storms and adverse winds they were delayed many days beyond 
the time usually required, and for five days were without the reg- 
ular supply of provisions and water. The Ayers children received 
a liberal portion due to Mrs. Westover's family, she, with char- 
acteristic kindness, depriving herself that the children might not 
suffer the pangs of hunger and thirst. The devoted friendship 
formed during this dangerous voyage lasted through life. 

When the Texas Revolution began Captain Ira Westover cast his 
fortunes with the Texas forces, and he and his adopted son were 
among Fannin's men at Goliad on that ever memorable bloody Palm 
Sunday, 1836. Alone, unprotected, terrified at the news of the merci- 
less slaughter, the widow of Captain Westover fled towards the east- 
ern part of the State. Mounted on a faithful horse, with a small 
bundle of clothing attached to the horn of her saddle, and attended 
by a single Mexican man-servant, she made her hurried ride across 
the trackless prairies, from her desolate home at San Patrico to 
Harrisburg, almost without halting. When she arrived and stopped 
at the doorway of Mrs. Jane Harris, she was lifted from her horse 
in a deathlike swoon. It was many hours before she was restored 
to consciousness, and her first words expressed the joy she felt of 
being able once more to look upon the face of a white woman. She 
remained with Mrs. Harris until after the Runaway Scrape, going 
with her and Mrs. Isaac Batterson's family to Anahuac and after- 
wards to Galveston. 

While her life was beset with many trials, the most trying period 
was passed in the companionship of Mrs. Harris. When the in- 
formation reached them at Galveston that the captured Santa Anna, 
whom she regarded as the murderer of her husband, would not be 
required to give up his life as the penalty of his crimes, a desire 
for revenge, for a time, overmastered every other feeling. Even 
many years afterward when these times were recalled, her strong 
efforts to speak calmly of them was betrayed by trembling voice and 

178 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

clenched fingers, as she would exclaim : "If the women whose hus- 
bands and sons he murdered could have reached him, he would not 
have lived long !" 

High courage, born of hardships, sustained her ; kind friends as- 
sisted her; and, returning to San Patricio, she set about gathering 
together what was left of her former possessions. In time she be- 
came the wife of Judge Mclntyre, but a tragic fate soon deprived 
her of his companionship, and she was again left to fight life's 
battles alone. While engaged in getting out timbers to make im- 
provements on their place, he attempted to cross a swollen stream. 
The weather was extremely cold, the heavy cloak he wore combined 
with the force of the current to sweep him off his horse, and he 
was drowned within a short distance of their home. 

In 1840 Mrs. Mclntyre went to Austin, then the seat of Gov- 
ernment of the Republic of Texas, to present some claims for prop- 
erty destroyed and goods and provisions furnished during the 
revolution. She boarded with Mrs. Eberle, at whose popular board- 
ing-house most of the members of the Congress were entertained. 
She there met Captain Oliver Jones, Senator from the Austin Dis- 
trict. He immediately became earnestly interested, not only in her 
claim against the government, but in her own fine personality. 
With his usual decision of character, he determined at the moment 
of introduction that he would try to win her, and soon after re- 
marked to a friend: "There is a woman that I would marry!" 
Aided by his good friend, Anson Jones, and others, in advocating 
her claim against the government, he was soon equally successful in 
urging his own individual claim to her favor. They were married 
at Austin, and after the session of Congress was over, they went 
to live at his plantation, "Burleigh," in what is now Austin 
County, a few miles from the town of Bellville. There they passed 
a long season of contented domestic life, surrounded by such 
luxuries as were obtainable at the time. 

Oliver Jones' experience as a cotton planter dated back to early 
colonial days; some old accounts of John R. Harris, a merchant 
at Harrisburg, show the following interesting entry: "Capt. 0. 
Jones to John R. Harris Dr. 1829, March 18. To storage on 2 
bales cotton, $1.00." He was known as a very successful planter, 
and the hospitality for which Texans were noted was well main- 

Sketch of Oliver Jones and His Wife, Rebecca Jones. 179 

tained at his home, where he and his wife gladly shared their pros- 
perity with friends and with the stranger within their gates. While 
they never parted with this home, yet about 1859 they moved to 
Galveston and purchased a handsome residence, where they lived 
until the breaking out of the war between the States obliged them, 
together with most of the residents of Galveston, to refugee to the 
interior of the State, Thereafter, appreciating in their old age 
more and more the companionship of dear friends, they spent much 
of their time in Houston, and Mrs. Jones died in that city, at the 
residence of Colonel Cornelius Ennis on December 24th, 1865. She 
and her husband were greatly beloved by all this family, whose 
younger members, in common with a few others of old friends, 
showed their love by endearing titles of make-believe kinship ; ad- 
dressing them always as "Uncle," and "Aunty Jones." Their de- 
votion to each other was of a type seldom equalled never sur- 
passed. Each lived for the other, and both for their friends. This 
excellent pair, without children, by the charm of their friendli- 
ness, were made members of a family circle limited only by the 
number of children of their friends. 

Mrs. Jones was well educated; she was gentle and dignified in 
manner, tall and well formed, attractive in person, and gifted with 
fine conversational powers. The courage and fortitude displayed 
during the perilous period of her first years in Texas flashed 
through her black eyes and were traced in the firm lines which 
marked the features of an unusually pleasing face. Those who knew 
her well had only words of praise and love for this worthy com- 
patriot, a woman cast in heroic mould. She was a member of the 
Prodestant Episcopal Church, and at her death was buried in the 
cemetery of that church, now known as the old Episcopal and 
Masonic cemetery. 

Oliver Jones survived his devoted wife less than one year. On 
September 17th, 1866, at the residence of Mrs. Sarah Merri- 
weather, on Congress Street, Houston, Texas, he breathed his last, 
and was laid by the side of his wife. A graceful, Italian monolith, 
tall and stately, bearing a simple inscription, the name of Oliver 
Jones, place of birth, date of death, and a partial record of his 
noble service for Texas, and the name Bebecca Jones, with the date 

180 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

of her death, marks the place of their sepulture. 1 Honeysuckle 
clusters in wild profusion round the tombstones of this old-time 
cemetery, which lies close to the Sam Houston Park; the merry 
sounds of music and laughter from the latter contrasting strangely 
with the peaceful quiet of this resting place of the dead. 

1 When, a few years ago, the Historian of the Daughters of the Republic 
of Texas informed Mr. David N. Harris of Wallis, that the memorial 
erected to his grand-uncle in the old Episcopal and Masonic Cemetery was 
falling to decay, he immediately authorized its restoration at his expense. 
At that time, at the instance of the Historian of the Society mentioned 
above, a brief record of Oliver Jones' service to Texas was added to the 
inscription already existing. An error in the inscription gives the place 
of his birth as Connecticut, when, according to the most reliable informa- 
tion, it should have been New York City. 

Notes and Fragments. 181 


following letter gives another brief, but contemporary account of 
the Texan assault on San Antonio in 1835. It was written to the 
editor of the Southern Whig, published at Athens, Georgia, and was 
copied from that paper by the (Columbus) Ohio Monitor, February 
18, 1836 : 

Near Cahawba, Ala., 15th Jan. 1836. 

Dear Brother : I have just arrived at this place, direct from San 
Antonio, Texas, and some few particulars in relation to the storm- 
ing and capture of that place may not be altogether uninteresting 
to you. History does not record a circumstance of the same nature, 
and perhaps never will another. 

The Texian troops had been encamped before San Antonio near 
two months without effecting any thing of importance, save daily 
skirmishing in which nothing was lost and little gained. (I must 
however make an exception of the battle of Conception in which 
Col. James W. Fannin commanded 92 men when surprised by 400 
Mexicans, who lost as has since been ascertained 104 killed, and 
since died of wounds, while the Texian loss was one man killed 

The Mexicans had 24 pieces of mounted artillery and 6 
unmounted when the attack was made, which was brought on in 
the following manner : After giving them two months to fortify 
the Texian officers decided that it was impracticable and impossible 
to carry the fort by storm, and had issued orders for the whole 
army to march at sundown, with the intention of taking up winter 
quarters at La Bahia 100 miles to the Southward and near the 
coast. It was then about four o'clock, and from the noise in the 
camp it was apparent that a mutiny was on hand. At the time 
appointed to move, 300 men marched out and declared their in- 
tention of storming the fort that night. Many of the officers made 
speeches against the project, friends begged and entreated others 
not to throw away their lives foolishly, &c &c. All was in vain ; 
no persuasion had any weight ; a great many mounted their horses 
and left the Camp, expecting a total defeat. Next morning j ust 
at daylight the three hundred firm to their purpose marched to the 
attack headed by Col. Benjamin R. Milan who had been the prin- 
cipal in bringing about this manoevre. The action was severe unti 1 

182 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

about ten o'clock; the Texians succeeded in getting possession of 
some large stone nouses in which they remained four days keeping 
up a steady fire day and night. On the fifth night an assault was 
made on the fort itself, and they succeeded in driving the enemy 
therefrom and from the whole town with a very considerable loss, 
while the Texian loss was 4 killed and 15 wounded. Among the 
killed was Col. Milam whose loss is severely felt throughout Texas. 
The Mexicans surrendered all their arms and munitions of war, 
amounting to 30 pieces of artillery and a large number of small 
arms with a large amount of ammunition for both. The Mexicans 
were about 1200 strong while the conquerors were not exceeding 
300. The main body of Texians were lying within three quarters 
of a mile, and refused to assist, as they expected defeat to the last 
minute. There is not now an armed Mexican in the country. The 
above statement is strictly correct; I have a personal knowledge of 
all the particulars as I have the honor of being known as one of the 
300. I have been in two other engagements, in one was shot 
through the boot, &c. in both successful. Mexicans can't stand the 

I am now in this place on business, and shall return to Texas 
in four days. 

Your Brother, &c. 

A. H. Jones. 
To Wm. E. Jones. 

Boole Reviews and Notices. 183 


Early Days of Fort Worth (Fort Worth, Texas Printing Com- 
pany, 1906, pp. 101), by Captain J. C. Terrell, is an interesting 
collection of stories and character sketches, largely in the gossipy 
vein, which will afford the reader most pleasant entertainment for 
a leisure hour. 

The Beginnings of the True Railway Mail Service and the Work 
of George B. Armstrong in Founding it (The Lakeside Press, 1906, 
pp. 84, printed for private circulation), compiled by Geo. B. Arm- 
strong, Jr., seeks to establish the claims of Mr. Armstrong to- the 
credit for the organization of the American railway mail service. 
For this purpose an effort is made to disprove the claims that have 
been set up on behalf of W. A. Davis of St. Joseph, Missouri. 

Indian Fights on Texas Frontier: A History of Exciting En- 
counters Had with Indians in Hamilton, Comanche, Brown, Erath 
and Adjoining Counties. By E. L. Deaton, a Texan of Pioneer 
Days. (C. M. Boynton, Hamilton, Texas. 1894. 8vo., paper, p. 

This is made up of very readable reminiscences of little known 
encounters in the district mentioned, which throw some light on 
the struggle with the Redskins, which was a part of the life of the 
pioneer settlers. F. W. H. 

Under Palmetto and Pine. By J. W. Carhart, M. D. (Cin- 
cinnati: 1899.) This is a small volume of stories purporting to 
depict negro life and character in Texas. The author wishes, it 
seems, to show that the negro is capable of taking on the highest 
degree of culture and refinement, and that social equality is the 
logical outcome. The book is of indifferent literary merit; the 
style is weak; the characters are generally too highly idealized to 
be convincing or to find patient readers among those who are 
familiar with the negro in the South. CHAS. W. R. 

The National Lines of Mexico 

Mexico's Greatest Railway System 

ROUTE. ::::::::: 

Qen'l Passenger Agent, 
Mexico City. 

Gen'l Western Agent, 
Chicago, 111. 

Follow the Flag 

Wabash Route 

To New York, Boston, Buffalo, Niagara 
Falls, Detroit, Chicago and all Eastern Cities. 
The shortest, quickest and only line from 
Kansas City or St. Louis running over its 
own tracks to Niagara Falls or Buffalo. 
OF A FIRST CLASS HOTEL. See the schedule: 

Leave St, Louis 8:30 a. m., 8:30 p. m., 11:47 p. m. 
Arrive Detroit 8:20 p. m., 9:30 a. m., 12:01 p. m. 
Arrive Buffalo 4:20 a. m., 7:00 p. m., 7:50 p. m. 
Arrive New York 3:30 p. m., 8:00 a. m., 7:35 a. m. 
Arrive Boston 5:20 p. m., 9:50 a. m., 10:30 a. m. 
Leave St. Louis 9:01 a. m., 9:17 p. m., 11:47 p. m. 
Arrive Chicago 5:00 p. m., 7:00 a. m., 8.00 a. m. 


Leave St. Louis 8:30 a. m., 8:30 p. m. Arrive Toledo 9:30 p. m. 8:30 a. m. 
Arrive Pittsburg 6:30 a. m., 6:00 p. m. Stop-over allowed on through tickets 
at Niagara Falls. Meals served in Wabash Palace Dining Cars. Consult 
Coupon Ticket Agents of connecting lines, or address 

S. W. Conner, S. W. P. A., 395 Main Street. 

Room 202. Dallas, Texas. 




The constitution of the Association provides that "Members 
who show, by published work, special aptitude for historical 
investigation, may become Fellows. Thirteen Fellows shall be 
elected by the Association when first organized, and the body 
thus created may thereafter elect additional Fellows on the 
nomination of the Executive Council. The number of Fellows 
shall never exceed fifty." 

The present list of Fellows is as follows: 













The constitution provides also that "Such benefactors of the 
Association as shall pay into its treasury at any one time the sum 
of thirty dollars, or shall present to the Association an equivalent 
in books, MSS., or other acceptable matter, shall be classed as 
Life Members." 

The Life Members at present are: 




VOL. X. JANUARY, 1907. No. 3. 

The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views 
expressed by contributors to THE QUARTERLY. 





(1) Probable Reasons for Dissatisfaction with the Location at 
the City of Houston. 

The inconvenience and discomforts suffered by the members of the 
first congress at the adjourned session in the city of Houston, were, 
perhaps, inevitable, springing as they did from the newness of the 
location and the recent removal of the government to that place. 
That these circumstances, however, did not allay but rather foment 
the discontent occasioned by the selection of the city of Houston 
is apparent. This dissatisfaction found expression in the progress 
of the campaign for congressional office during the summer of 1837. 
In the Telegraph for August 9, 1837, appeared a contribution, 
signed "Many Voters" and dated "Houston, August 9, 1837," in 
which the candidates of that district for seats in congress were 
called upon to define their positions upon the "most prominent 
measures upon which they . . . [would] probably be called to 
act the opening of the land office ; the division of the county ; the 
location of the seat of government; and the policy of carrying on 
an offensive war with Mexico." 

136 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

By the time fixed for the assembling of the second congress, one 
might reasonably have expected to find removed many of the causes 
for complaint that had existed during the adjourned session of the 
first congress. As a matter of fact, however, it seems that those 
who had undertaken to provide buildings for the accommodation 
of congress and the executive departments did little or nothing to 
carry out their promise during the intervening months. Take, for 
instance, the facts as stated by Secretary of the Treasury Henry 
Smith, in his letter of October 1, 1837, addressed to the speaker 
of the house of representatives : 

When the Government officers were removed to this point, the 
proprietors of the Town induced me to believe that I would be fur- 
nished with a good office. On my arrival however, I found that 
none had been provided and I was compelled to occupy a temporary 
shed, as entirely unfit for an office, as it was unsafe for the security 
of books and papers. This great inconvenience I submitted to 
without a murmur, under a promise however, that the evil should 
be remedied in a few weeks. Months have elapsed, and instead of 
being furnished with the anticipated office I am now deprived of the 
temporary shed. I have called on his Excellency the President who 
informed me that I should have a room in the purlieus of the 
Capitol, that the upper rooms were finished and that I was entitled 
to my privilege in choice. On examination however I found the 
rooms all occupied and was informed that the President had no 
control over them as they were intended for the use of the two 
houses of Congress, and that the rooms composing the wings of the 
Capitol were intended for the heads of Department. These rooms 
seem to be yet unfinished and in all probability cannot be occupied 
for Home time to come. Information on various subjects will be ex- 
pected from this Department by your hon[ora]ble body, which I am 
anxious to lay before you at as early a period as circumstances will 
possibly permit, which however cannot be done until I am pro- 
vided with a suitable office. I therefore ask the favor of your 
hon[ora]ble body to co-operate with the other house and, if con- 
sistent, to assign to my Department some suitable room to occupy 
where the business of the office can be properly conducted, and the 
books and papers securely kept. 1 

1 Letter filed with Papers of 2 Tex. Cong., 1 Sess., MS., State Depart- 

The petition of the Secretary of the Treasury was granted by inviting 
him "to take possession of one of the three rooms, in the second story of 
the Capitol (occupied for committee rooms), and appropriate the same to 
the use of the Treasury Department." (House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 1 
and 2 Sens., 32.) 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 187 

Even that part of the Capitol building occupied by congress wa^ 
incomplete in its appointments. Information upon this point is 
supplied by the House Journal. 1 For instance, seats were ordered 
to be placed in the lobby of the house of representatives, Septem- 
ber 30, 1837 ; a sufficient quantity of chairs for the use of the mem- 
bers of the house was ordered October 25 ; the plastering overhead 
in the Hall of Representatives being considered unsafe was ordered 
removed October 19; and a stove was ordered October 24. 

Another cause of dissatisfaction may be suggested by the follow- 
ing item from the Telegraph for October 11, 1837 : 

The attention of the mayor and aldermen ... is respect- 
fully called to the muddy condition of the streets on the level, about 
the capitol, and the president's house. The comfort and health of 
the inhabitants and visitors demand that those streets be well 
drained. . . . 

Many Voters. 

A third consideration was that of the healthfulness of the place. 
The Matagorda Bulletin for October 25, 1837, published this para- 
graph : 

Persons recently from Houston state that the city presents rather 
a gloomy appearance and worse in prospect. At the time our in- 
formant left there was much sickness, principally fevers of which 
there had been cases of yellow conjestive and billious. Every place 
was said to be crowded, and little or nothing to eat. 

Referring to this same period, a writer in the Telegraph for July 
31, 1839, says : 

It will be recollected by the early citizens of this place that in- 
stances have been known when three or four dead bodies have been 
picked up of a morning in the street, and that sickness and death 
visited almost every family. This, as the general healthiness of the 
place since has proved, was more owing to the exposed situation of 
the inhabitants than the unhealthiness of the climate. 

Whether the foregoing were all the reasons, or even the chief 
ones, for dissatisfaction with the city of Houston the evidence 
available does not permit me to affirm. That dissatisfaction did 
exist is plain; and it resulted in efforts to fix the location of the 
seat of government elsewhere and to remove it from Houston before 

'Pp. 20-60. passim. 

188 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the expiration of the time designated in the act locating temporarily 
the seat of government at that place. 

(2} The First Commission to Select a Site, October 24 Novem- 
ber 20, 1837. 

a. Origin of the Commission Idea. The second congress would 
have assembled in regular session on the first Monday in November, 
1837, but President Houston considered a special session necessary, 
and, accordingly, convened that body to meet September 25, to 
consider the land law and the eastern boundary line questions. 
Congress was in no wise restricted to the consideration of these 
subjects. It was but a few days, therefore, till the seat of gov- 
ernment question was raised. On September 28, Mr. Rusk offered 
a resolution in the house providing, 

That a committee of three be appointed by the House, to join 
such committee, as may be appointed on the part of the Senate. 
to enquire into the propriety of selecting a site, upon which to locate 
permanently the seat of government of the Republic. 1 

The Senate concurred in the foregoing resolution, and the joint 
committee reported, October 11, through its chairman, Mr. Rusk: 

that such site should be selected forthwith, and five commissioners 
should be chosen by a vote of both Houses, whose duties it shall be 
to select said site, and that they should receive such propositions 
for the sale of land as may be made to them; and to make condi- 
toinal contracts, subject to the ratification or rejection by this Con- 
gress, and that they report by the 15th of November; and that in 
making selections they be confined to the section of country be- 
tween the Trinity and Guadalupe rivers; and that they select no 
place over twenty miles north of the upper San Antonio road, nor 
south of a direct line, running from the Trinity to the Guadalupe 
River, crossing the Brazos at Fort Bend. 2 

On the same day that the foregoing report was made the follow- 
ing contribution, under the caption "Removal of the Seat of Gov- 
ernment," appeared in the Telegraph, a newspaper subscribed for 
by both houses of congress : 3 

1 House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 1 and 2 Seas., 10. 

-lUd., 38, 39. 

"Ibid., 13; Senate Journal, ibid., 9. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 189 

To the members of Congress: 

From recent indications, there can be no 

doubt that there is a settled purpose among you to act upon this 
matter at the present session of congress. As it is a measure of the 
deepest importance, and of no less interest to every citizen of the 
republic, a few suggestions even from a private source may not 
be without some beneficial effect upon your legislative action upon 
the subject. If a proper regard be had in the selection of a beau- 
tiful and eligible site in the upper country, as the permanent seat 
of government, it can doubtless be made the source of bringing a 
large revenue into the treasury, as it may be safely assumed that 
the capital of a large empire territory like that of Texas, soon 
destined to be settled with a dense and enterprising population, will 
give importance and interest to any place, and at all times make the 
property valuable; and if early steps are taken in fixing upon the 
location, a sufficient amount may be very soon realized from the 
sale of lots to erect the necessary government buildings, and in 
some sort, even to supply the wants of our suffering navy, a subject 
which at this time so imperiously demands the attention of Con- 
gress. It will be a very easy matter, as the geographical situation 
of the country is well known to you all, to settle upon the most 
fit and eligible site nearest the centre of the republic as the perma- 
nent seat of government of the republic. Bastrop is represented as 
having high claims upon the attention of the government, and per- 
haps a better location could not be made, provided there is an entire 
relinquishment of all private interest in the four leagues of land 
which belong to that town. But whatever place may be fixed upon, 
the government should by all means, make a reservation of at least 
four or five leagues of land, which could not fail in a few years to be 
rendered immensely valuable. Perhaps the most suitable plan that 
could be adopted for the disposition of the property, would be the 
appointment of five commissioners, well known for their intelli- 
gence, honor and integrity, to be vested with discretionary power 
to lay off the town in blocks of lots of small dimensions, to be de- 
termined among themselves, showing due regard to the situation 
of the capitol, so as to make the property as valuable as possible : 
and after laying off as many of those small lots as could possibly 
be made saleable in three years, by public auction at stated periods, 
they might then be authorized to lay off lots of ten, twenty, thirty, 
forty and fifty acres, so as to embrace even a half league of land, 
and the remainder of the land reserved might be laid off into farms 
and plantations, and disposed of as congress might at a future time 
determine. If commissioners could be appointed at the present 
session of congress, the first sale might take place as early as the 
1st of March next, and necessary public buildings might be erected 
so as to be in readiness for the reception of congress at its next 

190 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

session, should they determine not to hold another session here. 
And should they authorize the reception of treasury drafts at the 
sale, it would be the means of taking in a large quantity of that 
paper, which together with the enactment of laws making it receiv- 
able in all government dues, would immediately give an enhanced 
value to the paper, and in a short time make it good dollar for 
dollar, and made to answer all the purposes of a regular circulat- 
ing medium. So seriously impressed am I, with the conviction that 
if a judicious selection of a site for the permanent seat of govern- 
ment is now made, it cannot fail to attract the attention of capital- 
ists and men of all descriptions of business, and thus be made tbe 
means of realizing a handsome income to the government, that I 
hope and trust [the subject] will receive the early and considerate 
attention of congress. 

A Citizen. 

&. The Duties of the Commissioners. What the duties of the 
commissioners were to be was suggested in the report of the joint 
committee and in the article that appeared in the Telegraph cited 
above. A joint resolution, embodying the essentials of these recom- 
mendations, passed the senate on October 14, was concurred in by 
the house of representatives on the 16th, 1 and approved by the 
president on the 19th. It read as follows : 

Eesolved by the senate and house of representatives of the re- 
public of Texas, in Congress assembled, That there shall be elected 
by joint vote of both houses of congress, five commissioners (any 
three of whom shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of 
business) whose duty it shall be forthwith to proceed to select a site 
for the permanent location of the seat of government of this re- 
public ; and that they be required to give public notice of their ap- 
pointment, and receive such propositions for the sale of lands as 
may be made to them, not less than one, nor more than six leagues 
of land; and also examine such places as they may think proper 
on vacant lands; and that they be authorized to enter into condi- 
tional contracts for the purchase of such locations as they may 
think proper, subject to ratification or rejection by this congress, 
and that they be required to report to congress, by the 15th Novem- 
ber, the different selections, with an accurate and full description 
of the same, to congress, and that in making the selections, they be 
confined to the section of country between the Trinity and Guad- 
alupe rivers, and that they select no place over one hundred miles 
north of the upper San Antonio road, nor south of a direct line 

^Senate Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 1 and 2 Sess., 20, 22. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 191 

running from the Trinity to the Guadalupe river, crossing the 
Brasses at Fort Bend. 1 

The five commissioners provided for by the above resolution were 
elected by joint vote of the two houses on October 24th. Messrs. J. 
A. Greer, John G. McGehee, Horatio Chriesman, J. W. Bunton, 
and William Scurlock were chosen. 2 None of them was a member 
of congress. 

Would "a direct line running from the Trinity to the Guadalupe 
river, crossing the Brasses at Fort Bend" exclude the city of Hous- 
ton? The writer of the article that appeared in the Telegraph. 
October 11, which was quoted above, as well as the editor of 
the Telegraph in the article that is quoted below treat the subject as 
if the city of Houston was barred from consideration; nor does 
the city of Houston appear as a candidate for the permanent seat 
of government. The editor of the Telegraph, October 14, 1837. 

Many of the members of congress seem determined to remove the 
seat of government from this place immediately. We believe the 
people of Texas have too high a regard for justice, to sanction this 
measure. The public faith we think is in some degree pledged to 
retain the seat of government at Houston until the year 1840. Most 
of the citizens who have purchased lots in this city and erected 
buildings have considered the act 'locating temporarily the seat of 
government" a secure guarantee that their property here would con- 
tinue valuable at least three years. The stability of the contracts 
they have made was wholly based upon that law. We trust there- 
fore that this congress will not be so unjust as rashly to deprive 
these citizens of what they may properly consider vested rights. 

c. The Report of the Commissioners. The commissioners elected 
to select a site for the permanent seat of government made their 
report November 20, 1837. 3 

To the honorable Senate and House of Eepresentatives : 

Your Commissioners, to select a site for the permanent 
location of the Seat of Government, beg leave, after the time re- 
quired, to report to your honorable bodies the result of their exam- 

of the Republic of Texas [Passed the First and Second Sessions of 
Second Congress], 4, 5. 

*Houe Journal, 2 Tex. Cong.. 1 and 2 Sess.. 63: Senate Journal, ibid., 

'House Journal, ibid., 147. 148. 

192 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

In doing this your commissioners deem it best to lay before con- 
gress as a part of their report all the propositions which have been 
made, and unnecessary and too tedious [to] go in to a full descrip- 
tion of the different situations contained in said propositions; but 
will only offer a few remarks upon those which in their opinion 
have the highest claims for a suitable site. 

We will first present Bastrop as a site possessing some advantages 
over any other, such as the best of pine and cedar timber, and other 
advantages not surpassed having as good water as any other, being 
located on a navigable stream not more than 110 miles from 
schooner navigation, surrounded by a fine beautiful country, pos- 
sessing a location high, dry, and healthy, and having a tract of 
four leagues appropriated for the town and may be considered pub- 
lic property having a front on the river of one mile and a half, but 
most of tillable land of the first class is claimed by private indi- 
viduals on the front league tho there is some good land on the re- 
mainder. But this town tract is joined by a fine league fronting on 
the river above the town which contains a good portion of first rate 
land and is claimed under an improvement which was made by a 
person who had drawn his headright, but claims it as the head- 
right of another, with public lands joining the town tract. Could 
the government secure this league it would be very valuable and 
add much to the claim's of this place. 

The site at Washington has certainly some claims being situate 
on a navigable stream, about 80 miles from -schooner navigation 
and surrounded b} 7 a rich and fertile country susceptible of a dense 
population having an abundance of good water possessing a high 
dry, and healthy location, with a league of land offered on the 
terms proposed in the proposition for that place together with a 25 
acres for a site for the capitol etc. with some lots. 

The situation on the Mound leagues presents itself very forcibly 
having good water, with an abundance of cedar oak and ash 
timber at a convenient distance from the sight which is on a high 
and beautiful prairie with a fine rich country of lands, situate 
20 miles West of Washington, 22 from the Colorado, and about 130 
from the coast and 90 from schooner navigation. Those three leagues 
in the proposition of J F Perry with 700 acres of H. Chriesman 
will make about 15 000 acres and is of the first class of farming 
lands, joined by 10 or 12 thousand acres of vacant lands, the great- 
est portion of which is only valuable for its timber, tho there is 
some good farming lands on it, making in all about 25 000 acres, 
and will in the opinion of a majority of your commissioners pro- 
duce a greater revenue than any other situation before your honor- 
able bodies. 

There is a site on the East bank of the Colorado river about 35 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 193 

or 40 miles below Bastrop at the Labahia crossing having a fine 
quantity of pine and cedar timber at a moderately convenient dis- 
tance surrounded by a fine healthy rich country, which ought not 
to be over looked, and your commissioners expected to have re- 
ceived and handed in a proposition, which will probably be handed 
in by the persons interested in the site. There is in a short dis- 
tance of the last mentioned place a large quantity of vacant lands. 

The sites of San Felipe and Gonzales each having originally four 
leagues appropriated which may be considered public property have 
not been over looked, but neither of them being central and in want 
of good timber do not come under the class having the strongest 

Nashville, Tenoxticlan, the falls of the Brazos, and the situation 
[represented by Henry Austin on the West bank of the Colorado 
possessing some advantages, do not come under the first class. 

A proposition pointing out a site in the neighborhood of the 
Sulphur Springs, North East of Washington, having good water 
and timber with a large quantity of vacant lands in its vicinity is 
expected and may be handed in. 

The difficulty of seeing and hearing from persons owning land's 
in the vicinity of the different situations has rendered it impos- 
sible in the time given, to place any proposition fairly before the 
honorable congress; and your commissioners have no doubt that 
much more advantageous certain and liberal propositions could have 
been had if a longer time had been given and this important matter 
would have been in a much better condition for the action of con- 

J. A. Greer 
John G. McGehee 
Horatio Chriesman 
J. W. Bunton 
William Scurlock 


Houston, Nov. 20, 1837. 1 

of Government Papers, MS, in State Library. Following is a sum- 
mary of the propositions accompanying the report: 

Bastrop. October 21, 1837, the people of Bastrop instructed their sen- 
ator and representatives in congress to relinquish to the government the 
unappropriated part of the town tract containing about three leagues and 
three quarters, and to transfer all moneys due on the sale of the town 
lots heretofore made, amounting to about $7000. November 20, 1837, the 
citizens of Mina county authorized John G. McGehee to pledge in addi- 
tion to the foregoing two and one-fourth leagues of land, or five thousand 

Washington. November 15, 1837, the Washington Town company made 
the following offer, which because of its importance is here given in full: 

"At a meeting of the proprietors of the Town of Washington held on 
the 15th of November A I) 1837 on motion of John W Hall it was unani- 

194 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

This report was referred to a select joint committee,, composed of 
five members from each house. 1 

The preference manifested for central, and even western Texas, 
as the proper place for the permanent location of the seat of gov- 
ernment is noteworthy. It is, therefore, the more remarkable to 
find the following protest against the contemplated action of con- 
gress : 

I have just reached this place from the far west where -I reside 
and where it is difficult for myself and neighbors to acquire infor- 
mation in relation to the political operations of this government. 
It would be useless for me here to state that the citizens of the west 
have been the greatest sufferers in the war betwen Texas and Mex- 
ico. . . . Our only hope was in the protection of a munificent 
and just government, ... I find instead of an eye to the in- 
terest of all, that local feelings and prejudices prevail, and at a 
time when the whole west is to a considerable extent depopulated, 

mously resolved that Asa Hoxey president of the board of proprietors be 
fully authorized to make to the commissioners (appointed by Congress for 
the purpose of locating the Seat of Government) such propositions as he 
in his judgment may think best bo secure the Seat of Government in said 

"To Capt Criesman, Col Buntin, Capt Skerlock. John McGee and J. A. 
Greer Esqrs. 


"Under and by virtue of the resolution of the proprietors of the Town of 
Washington and above set forth, I would beg leave to make the following 
/proposition with the view of getting the Seat of Government located in 
the Town of Washington viz I feel myself fully authorized by virtue of 
the resolution of the proprietors of the Town aforesaid and hereunto ap- 
pended and do hereby propose to the Government through you to execute 
to the Government good and sufficient titles to one League of Land con- 
tiguous to the Town of Washington, for which you or the Government or 
any person or persons authorized by said Government may affix the price 
or value and the terms on which the payments shall be made, One-half 
of the Land thus offered is situated on the East side of the Brazos river 
and separated from said Town only by said river and is as is well known 
to you of the most valuable description both for its timber and for farm- 
ing purposes, the other half is immediately adjoining said Town and from 
that circumstance renders it equally if not more valuable than the other 
half. It is further proposed to allow the Government (and the proprie- 
tors will execute good and sufficient titles to the same) any number of 
lots requisite for the purpose of erecting the capitol and a sufficient num- 
ber of buildings for the officers of Government to be selected from any of 
the undisposed lots in said Town to be entirely gratuitous and without 
charge to the Government. It will be recollected that you were pleased 
with what you supposed to be an eligible site on John W Halls Land ( ad- 
joining the Town tract) for the Capitol and the necessary buildings for 
the officers of Government, I am fully authorized by Capt Hall to say 

l House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 1 and 2 Sess., 147, 149. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 195 

we find members of congress attempting to entail the west a seat 
of government forever. Would it not be well for the gentlemen to 
reflect upon the probable result of such a measure ? Would not the 
west in after days deny the right to thus bind them, and if the seat 
of government should be located and individuals invest in purchas- 
ing property, and a subsequent congress choose to remove the seat 
of government, would it not have a tendency to destroy faith? I 
trust that members of congress will consider maturely before they 
legislate to the prejudice of every part of this community. I do 
not object to moving the seat of government, but I do most sin- 
cerely object to any pledge on the part of this government that the 
seat of government shall remain at any place forever. First, be- 
cause it is unjust in its operation secondly, because I do not think 
that congress has the right to do so. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

A Western Citizen. 
Houston, November 23rd, 1837. 1 

that if you or the Government prefer that situation to any other within 
the corporate limits of said Town that it is at the disposal of Government 
free from all charge and that Capt Hall is ready to execute to the Gov- 
ernment [a deed] to a sufficient quantity of Land to meet the wants of 
Government as above set forth, I wish it to be distinctly understood that 
this proposition ia made expressly with the view to the capitol being 
erected either within the corporate limits of said Town or on the land of 
the said John W Hall above referred to and which if not acceded to by the 
Government then this proposition is to be regarded as not having been 
made and is to be withdrawn In making this proposition permit me most 
respectfully to suggest to the Government through you the many advan- 
tages that would accrue to the Government should this proposition be ac- 
ceded to and the Seat of Government be located in the Town of Washing- 
ton. I take it for granted that in selecting a suitable situation, due re- 
gard is to be had to the health of the location, the capabiliy of the con- 
tiguous country supporting the Town by its own product, so that in case of 
exigency it may be independent of foreign supplys, the geographical centre 
of the dountry, the means of communication with the coast and the fron- 
tier settlements, the safety from invasion by the enemy and of a conse- 
quence the safety of the public documents, its contiguity to a navigable 
stream, the facilities of building and a variety of other considerations 
which will naturally suggest themselves to you. 

"I would with proper deference to your judgment suggest that the Town 
of Washington presents all the advantages herein enumerated In the 
first place, it affords an abundance of good well and spring water and 
contains a population of about Four hundred inhabitants, it was laid out 
as a town in the Spring of 1835 and there have been but fifteen persons 
buried in the Town during all that time not one of whom died with fever, 
and for the truth of this assertion I refer you to the statement of Dr. 
William S. [the actual signature shows P.* instead of S.] Smith here- 
unto appended In the second place, you must be perfectly satisfied 
from your own observation that there is no County in the Republic 
that will admit of more close farming than Washington and that 

^Telegraph, December 6, 1837. 

196 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

(S) The Second Commission to Select a Site, December 14, 1837, 
to April 14, 1838. 

a. Creation and Personnel of the New Commission. The joint 
select committee, to which had been referred the report of 
the first commission, reported on November 28, 1837, that 

they had had the subject under consideration, and had come to the 
determination to recommend that a joint committee of both houses 
be appointed to visit, in the recess of Congress, the different places 
proposed for the seat of government, and other places, as may be 
proposed, and report fully thereon in the early part of the first 
meeting of Congress after the adjournment. 1 

Accordingly, the following joint resolution was passed by con- 
- gress and approved by President Houston : 

there is no section of the Republic populating so fast or yielding 
more rapidly to the industry of the farmer which is abundantly shewn 
not only by your own observation but by the vote taken at the last elec- 
tion for members of Congress, which I think was the largest taken in any 
County of the Republic, In the third place you will be easily convinced 
by reference to the Map of the Country that Washington is the most cen- 
tral point of the now inhabited part of the Republic or that will be popu- 
lated for a long time to come In the fourth place, communications can be 
received at Washington in Twenty-four hours from the 'coast, and in Forty- 
eight hours from the remotest frontier settlements, The fifth proposition 
[as to safety from invasion; see latter part of preceding paragraph] 
I pass over as self-evident. In the sixth place, Washington is beautifully 
situated on the right bank of the Brazos river opposite to the mouth of 
the Navisota and is evidently at the head of navigation (there being a 
series of obstacles in the river beginning a few miles above the Town). It 
is true that no Steam Boat has as yet ascended the river as far as Wash- 
ington, but I am induced to believe from what information I have been 
able to collect and from what has come under my own immediate obser- 
vation that it has been owing more to the perturbed situation of the Coun- 
try than from any obstacle to [be] met with in the river and think that 1 
may with safety and confidence state that when the Country becomes more 
tranquil the enterprise of her citizens will overcome the difficulties (if 
there be any) in navigating the river and that the day is near at hand 
when the communication by Steam Boat navigation between the Town of 
Washington and the mouth of the river will be certain and direct. In the 
seventh place, there is now being erected in the Town two good Saw Mills 
and the adjacent country affords an abundance of suitable building tim- 
ber and there is now in full operation a large brick yard and I am in- 
formed that stone lime in any quantity can be procured a few miles up 
the river, and in the immediate vicinity of the Town may be had a vast 
quantity of fine sand stone suitable either for chimneys or buildings, thus 
affording all the facilities of building. 

"With these few observations I respectfully submit this proposition for 
your consideration, with the full assurance that you will do that which 

1 House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 1 and 2 Sess., 192. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 197 

Sec. I. Resolved, By the senate and house of representatives of 
the republic of Texas, in congress assembled, , That they will elect 
a joint committee of five,' two from the senate and three from the 
house of representatives, to be elected by their different houses, to 
whom shall be referred all propositions for the location of a per- 
manent seat of government, that the said committee be instructed 
forthwith after the adjournment of congress, to repair to that sec- 
tion of country in which it is proposed to locate the seat of gov- 
ernment, and examine, and make plots of the different places pro- 
posed as proper for the seat of government, and to visit and examine 
such other places as may be proposed for the seat of government, 
and prepare plots and descriptions of all such place [s] with the 
conditions on which they can be had by the government, and report 
thereon on the first Monday of the next meeting of congress. 

in your best judgment will bring about the end for which you were ap- 

"Your obt. Servt 

"Asa Hoxey 
"President Washington Company 

"Washington 15 Nov 1837" 

Mound League. November 14, 1837, James F Perry offered to sell to 
the government the Mound league and adjoining leagues at $1.50 cash per 
acre. November 20, 1837, Horatio Chriesman offered to donate four labors 
of land adjoining the Mound league. (Old Gay Hill in Washington county 
was located on the Mound League.) 

Nashville. November 20, 1837, T. J. Chambers offered to relinquish 
three-quarters of a league and half the town lots of Nashville, on condi- 
tion that he be permitted to locate an equal quantity of land elsewhere. 
S. C. Robertson offered to relinquish one-half league just below Chambers' 
land on similar terms. Mr. Thompson offered to relinquish one-half of the 
league just below Robertson's on similar terms. Mr. Chambers suggested 
the name of "Texia" for the seat of government. 

Tenoxtitlan. R. Barr offered to relinquish one-half of the league on 
which Tenoxtitlan is situated, also two leagues of land lying on the west 
side of the Brazos at the mouth of Cow Bayou. 

Falls of the Brazos. T. J. Chambers offered to relinquish one league of 
land adjoining the town tract. 

Henry Austin offered to place at the disposal of the government five 
leagues of land fronting on the west bank of the Colorado River, 8 miles 
above Columbus, on condition that the seat of government remain there 
from 1840 till 1850 and that he receive about forty-five per cent of the 
proceeds of the sales of all lots. 

Sulphur Springs. Situate 15 miles N. E. of Washington, 32 miles S. W. 
of Cincinnati, and 62 miles N. W. of Houston. J. S. Black and others 
offered 5500 acres of land. 

J. H. Money offered to donate 1666 acres of land situate on the head 
waters of the New Years creek, on condtion that the seat of government be 
located on the said 1666 acres. 

F. Niebling and Gregg (the name not clearly written) offered to 
relinquish certain portions of their land fronting 001 the Colorado river, 
provided they were permitted to select like quantities elsewhere. 

198 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Sec. 2. And be- it further resolved, That said committee, shall 
receive the same pay as if in actual session of congress, for the time 
they are serving on said committee, 1 and they are hereby instructed 
to make contracts on the most favorable terms they can, subject in 
all cases to the ratification or rejection of congress. 

Sec. 3. And be it further resolved, That the 'said committee 
shall have power to make reservation of all vacant lands which may 
be situated within nine miles of any point which the committee may 
think proper to designate as suitable locations for the seat of gov- 
ernment, and due notice or said reservation shall be forthwith given 
in at least three public newspapers, and no county surveyor shall 
survey any land in the said reservation, until after said reservation 
shall be relinquished by congress; Provided, that it shall not be 
lawful for said committee, to make such reservations in more than 
five different places. 2 

The recommendation of the joint select committee and the action 
of congress in adopting this recommendation harmonize with the 
opinion of the members of the first commission. They stated in 
the concluding paragraph of their report that they were confident 
that "much more advantageous certain and liberal propositions 
could have been had if a longer time had been given." The joint 
resolution, in a certain sense, therefore, is simply an extension of 
time granted the commissioners. However, a new commission com- 
posed of five members of congress was selected to continue the 
work ; more explicit directions were given to guide them in the per- 
formance of their task ; and greater precautions were taken to safe- 
guard the public interest. There was no change in the limits of 
the territory to which the commissioners were restricted. 

Patrick C. Jack of Brazoria, George Sutherland of Jackson, and 
P. 0. Lumpkin of Houston county, were selected by the house of rep- 
resentatives ; and G. W. Barnett of Washington and Emory Raines 
of Shelby and Sabine were chosen by the senate 3 as members of the 
joint committee of five. Congress adjourned December 19, 1837, 
to meet on the second Monday in April following. 

congress also passed a joint resolution, granting the members of 
the first commission five dollars per day while in the discharge of that 
duty. Laws of the Republic of Texas [Passed at First and Second Sessions 
of Second Congress], 41. 

2 Laws of the Republic of Teams [Passed at First and Second Sessions of 
Second Congress], 60, 61. 

3 Hov$e Journal, 2 Tex. Cong.. 1 and 2 Seas., 285. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 199 

b. Report of the Commissioners. The act of congress creating 
the second commission provides that "said committee be instructed 
forthwith after the adjournment of congress, to repair to that sec- 
tion of country in which it is proposed to locate the seat of govern- 
ment, and examine, and make plots of the different places proposed 
as proper for the seat of government." The commissioners may 
have proceeded forthwith, but the following notice suggests that 
a much more leisurely mode of procedure was adopted: 

The commissioners appointed by congress to examine and report 
to the next extra session a suitable place for the permanent loca- 
tion of the seat of government in pursuance of their duties, will 
meet at John H. Moore's on the Colorado, on the first Monday in 
March next, whence they will proceed to examine such sites as may 
be deemed eligible, and receive proposals for the same. In the 
meantime, either of the commissioners is authorized to receive writ- 
ten proposals, and submit the same to the board upon their meet- 

By order of the board, 

Pat. C. Jack, Chairman. 

January 31, 1838. 1 

Assuming that the commissioners met at J. H. Moore's, La 
Grange, on the first Monday in March, which was the 5th of the 
month, they spent comparatively little time in further investigation 
before coming to a final decision, for on the 8th of March they 
concluded a tentative contract with John Eblin for the purchase 
of his league of land, which bordered John H. Moore's on the 
south. On the same day the commissioners reserved to the govern- 
ment all the vacant lands lying within a radius of nine miles of a 
point near the western boundary of Eblin's League. Whether they 
visited any other points after this, the records at hand do not show. 

The adjourned session of the second congress convened at Hous- 
ton, April 9, 1838. On the 14th, Mr. Sutherland of the joint com- 
mittee made a report, accompanying the same with sundry docu- 
ments. 2 Only those parts of the report relating to Groce's Ee- 
treat, Colorado City, and Eblin's League have been found. The 
last, which is very much the longest, is as follows : 

^Telegraph, February 10, 1838. 

*House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 3 Sess., 14. 

200 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Aprile 15th 1838 

The Commissioners to whome by Congress was assigned the duty 
of examining and repoarting on the various plac[e]s proposed for 
the permane[n]t location of the site of Government of the Repub- 
lic of Texas. 

beg leave to represent that after much labour being bestowed, the[y] 
make the following exhibit in the order of their review. 
Viz. Bough [t] 1 of John Eblin one League of land situate on the 
east side of Colerado River, fronting one and a half miles on said 
River, below the tract on which the Town of Legrange is situate. 
This League has a high commanding bluff Bank for a mile and a 
quarter, far above high watter marks, running back with a rich dry, 
smothe pierara, one mile to the poastoak lands gradually rising 
throughout, through this survey runs diagonally a Creek of pure 
and never failing watter. on the Survey are four permane[n]t 
Springs, with a fare stand of timber oak cedar etc. the whole of this 
Tract will do for building purposes. Also one other League of land 
fronting one and a half miles on the west bank of said River and di- 
rectly opposite the front of the Eblin League from Judge Evins 
and Majr Brookfield the front of this Survey is perhaps eighty 

feet above the level of the high lands on the east side, about the 
center of this survey rises an interesting spring running down a 
decent, or arm of the bluff to the river, forming a passway to and 
from without difficulty, thus affording perhaps the best place for a 
bridge on the River, taking into view the banks timbers and in- 
exhaustable stock of building Rock, three quarters of a mile back 
commences a high smoth timbered plane running back six miles 
in all. the extreme west end has some small groves and small 
prairies interspersed, on this -survey there are three other springs 
said to be permanent, all of which rise seventy or perhaps eighty 
feet above the lands alluded to thus affording by the construction 
of a bridge great facilities for water privileges, this Survey 
has a great stand of timber oak cedar etc. etc. both of 
which tracts are obtained on the terms contained in the accom- 
panying documents, here submitted, contiguous to this survey is 
a donation from Thomas H. Boarden for one quarter of a League 
of land, connected with the two last mentioned Surveys West and 
Southwest and within nine miles of the center of the Eblin Tract, 
are three Leagues or perhaps more of excellent vacant soil but 

'The purchase contract bears date of March 8, 1838. Seat of Govern- 
ment Papers, MS. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 



The circle has a radius of nine miles. The original is in manuscript, 
and about nine inches in diameter. The above reprodiiction is from a 
tracing, except the lettering which in the original is script. 

202 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

scarce of timber all of which we have reserved for the Government 1 
agreeable to the Resolution in that case made and provided, on the 
East side of the Colerado River and in Rabs pinery the three Rabs 
donate to the Government one half of a League of land, with a 
valuable stand of pine oak .Cedar etc. East and South of this survey 
and adjoining we have reserved perhaps a League of land with 
good timbers, connected with the north end of Eblins Survey. 

Jesse H. Cartwright donates to the Government one fourth of a 
League of land good soil and poastoak timber. John H. Moore do- 
nates to the Government 2 on the north boundaryline of the 
Eblin tract with good timber, the connexion of which surveys will 
be seen by refference to the accompanying platt. 3 in Sigh[t] of this 
place is a chalk bluff said to be of excellent quality, near this is 
a fine coal pitt, the facility of getting supplies from above by 
means of the River need no comment. East and South of this place 
between the Brazos and Colerado Rivers embracing their tributaries, 
is a country in point of soil grandeur of situations, supply of never 
failing springs and many farms in a high state of cultivation with 
tolerable timbers, that but few countryes on Earth can compare 
with. West so far as San Antonio and farther, the soil and watter 
are not to be surpassed, the timber tolerable, through all this 
country the prospect for health appears verry good. 

G. W. Barnett 
P. 0. Lumpkin 
George Sutherland 4 

c. Report of the Joint Committee. This report, together with 
the accompanying documents, was referred to a joint committee. 
This joint committee was authorized to receive further propositions 
relative to the permanent location of the seat of government, and 
was instructed to report by bill or otherwise. 5 The committee made 
the following report : 

The Select Joint Committee, to whom were referred all the docu- 
ments in the nature of propositions from different sections of the 
country, relating to the removal and location of the Seat of Govern- 
ment, have had the same under consideration; and after compar- 
ing all the documents which have come to their hands, your Com- 
mittee, deeming it to be improper for them to express any opinion 
to the advantage or disadvantage of any proposition which has 


^See order of the commissioners to the county surveyor of Fayette 
county, dated March 8, 1838. Seat of Government Papers, MS. 
"Blank left for amount of land. 
"See plat, p. 201. 
4 Seat of Government Papers, MS. 
"House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 3 Sess., 16, 35; Senate Journal, ibid., 15. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 203 

come before them, have, in consequence, thought proper to condense 
as much as practicable the different propositions, which are as fol- 

Then come several propositions which are here summarized: 

A donation of land aggregating 18,015 acres and lying within a 
radius of thirty miles was offered to the government by those rep- 
resenting the site of Comanche, on the Colorado, eighteen miles 
above Bastrop. 

A donation of 9,510 acres of land was offered the government by 
those advocating the selection of Groce's Retreat. 

In addition to the 8,888 acres embraced in Eblin's and in Brook- 
field and Evans's leagues, which had been purchased by the com- 
missioners, 28,475 acres, lying within a radius of nine miles of the 
west end of Eblin's league, were offered to the government as a 
donation. 1 

Henry Austin offered the government a donation of nearly 11,- 
110 acres as an inducement to locate the seat of government on his 
lands on the Colorado. 2 

Certain proprietors of lands at Nashville offered to exchange the 
greater portion of three leagues lying at that place for lands located 
elsewhere in case Nashville should be selected as the seat of govern- 

A donation of 8,800 acres of land near the site of Sulphur 
Springs was offered the government for seat of government pur- 
poses. 3 

The promoters of Colorado City, located two miles above La 
Grange, offered the government a half interest in the lots and town 
tract, which contained upwards of 4,000 acres. 

Those interested in the site of Richmond offered the government 
half the town tract, which contained 600 acres, and two leagues of 
land in the immediate vicinity. 

A total of 44,621 acres of land, including four leagues vacant 
land and the town tract, was offered the government by those favor- 
ing the site at Bastrop. 4 

'Four leagues of this were vacant land, belonging to the Republic. 
"For location of Austin's lands, see p. 197, note. 
"For location of Sulphur Springs, see ibid. 
*Seat of Government Papers, Printed Report. 


Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Several propositions were made too late to be included in the above 
report; they were as follows: 

1. Henry Austin offered to donate one-half of the proceeds of the in 
and out lots of Central City, situated on the left bank of the Navasota 
River, five miles above its confluence with the Brazos. 

2. Briscoe and Hall offered to donate one league of land as a site for 
the seat of government out of the six leagues lying midway between the 
San Jacinto and Trinity Rivers and immediately west of the Long King's 
crossing over the Trinity. 

. 3. James F. Perry offered to sell 3 leagues and 8 labors, including the 
Mound league, at $2 per acre; also one-half league of land on the Colo- 
rado just below Bastrop at $5 per acre. 

A comparison of the foregoing report with that of November 20, 
1837, exhibits a remarkable growth in the number and strength of 
the applications for the seat of government from places located on 
the Colorado River over those from places situated on or near the 
Brazos River. In 1837 seven places on or near the Brazos River 
were mentioned in the report of the commissioners, while only three 
on the Colorado received notice. In the above report only four 
places on or near the Brazos receive mention, while five located on 
the Colorado are named. Most remarkable is the fact that Wash- 
ington, the strongest candidate on the Brazos, drops out entirely. 

d. Ellin's League Selected by Congress as the Site for the Loca- 
tion of the Seat of Government. Two days after the receipt of the 
report the two houses of congress met in joint session for the pur- 
pose of selecting "a site for the permanent location of the seat of 
government." 1 

The vote was taken viva voce, and may be tabulated as follows :* 

Name of place. 

First ballot. 

Second ballot. 



















Eblin's League .. 

Black's Place 


San Felipe 








Mound League ... 







Groce's Retreat 

San Antonio 



Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 3 Sess., May 9, 1838, pp. 97, 98; Senate 
Journal, ibid., 52, 53. 
2 The House Journal gives the name of each voter for the several places. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 205 

Eblin's League received a majority of the votes; the speaker of the 
house of representatives, therefore, announced that it was duly 
chosen as the site for the future location of the seat of government. 
It will be noted that the majority for Eblin's League was much 
larger than that by which the city of Houston was selected for the 
temporary capital. 1 

Very little has been found that would indicate the feeling with 
which the selection of Eblin's League was received by the people; 
the President's veto perhaps killed the bill too soon to leave much 
time for comment. Some expressions that have been discovered are 
as follows : 

On Monday last, both houses of Congress met for the purpose of 
selecting a site for the permanent location of the Seat of Govern- 
ment, and on the second ballot, decided in favor of Eblin's League, 
on the Colorado river, near La Grange, in the county of Fayette. 
This is the site selected and recommended by the commissioners 
appointed by Congress. National Banner, [Houston.] 

Our readers will perceive by the above extract that the Seat of 
Government has been located upon the Colorado Eiver. We com- 
mend the wisdom of Congress in approving the site selected by the 
commissioners. The Colorado is one of the finest streams in Texas, 
and navigable almost to the mountains. In addition to the superior 
quality of its lands, it runs through the very heart and centre of 
the Republic. 2 

The result of the vote above was embodied in a bill for the per- 
manent location of the seat of government. The bill has not been 
found. The following are some of the facts in regard to it gathered 
from the journals: 3 the name of the site selected was to be Austin; 
of the twelve squares reserved for the government, one was in- 
tended for the University; and the seat of government was not to 
be removed from Houston until 1840. An unsuccessful effort was 
made to add a section to the bill providing 

that this act shall not go into operation in any of its parts until 
after the same shall have been submitted to the people of Texas, at 
the next general election, for their ratification or approval. 

e. President Houston Vetoes the Bill Selecting Eblin's League. 

*Matagorda Bulletin, May 17, 1838. 

'House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 3 Sess., 105, 108, 109, 113, 133 and 137; 
Senate Journal, ibid., 64, 68, 69, 72, and 73. 

206 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

On May 22, the president vetoed 'the bill, stating his objections in 
the following message : 

The act locating the seat of government has been submitted to 
the Executive, who has taken a calm and dispassionate view of the 
subject. It will be perceived by the law fixing temporarily the 
seat of government, that it shall be established at the town of Hous- 
ton, on Buffalo Bayou, until the end of the session of congress, 
which shall assemble in the year one thousand eight hundred and 
forty: This would clearly require that at least two elections must 
take place for members of the house of representatives, and two 
thirds of the senators will be renewed previous to that time. If 
these are truths, then it would seem that the law had contemplated 
the action of the members who, at that time representing Texas as 
the persons who were to act for the emergency of the time. Many 
changes must take place in the population and condition of Texas 
previous to the year 1840, and by that time the people would have 
an opportunity to give some expression of their wishes and opin- 
ions on the subject, if it were submitted to them. Were the pres- 
ent congress to pass a law fixing the seat of government at any 
one point, the Executive believes that either of the two next suc- 
ceeding congresses would have it in their power to repeal the law 
and commence anew. This act of the honorable congress contem- 
plates the expenditure of a larger portion of the public treasure 
than the Executive would be willing to see subtracted from the 
treasury at this time: our resources do not seem to justify any 
course but that of the strictest economy in the government, and 
this bill would doubtless consume at least one eighth part of the 
revenue for the current year, while it would leave the subject liable 
to the action of a subsequent congress; and should the subject be 
presented to the people, and then their expression ratified by an act 
of the government, it would be permanently established beyond all 
ground of doubt or cavil. 

Being satisfied of the inexpediency of the measure at this time, 
the Executive feels himself constrained to return the bill with his 
reason for not giving his signature to the same. 1 

The house of representatives sustained the veto. 2 The veto mes- 
sage was received so late in the session of congress that, according 
to the rules of this body, no new business could be introduced with- 
out the consent of two-thirds of the members present. Two efforts 
were made to suspend this rule; both failed, but the measures 
which it was attempted to bring before the house were spread upon 

l House Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 3 Sess., 162, 163. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 207 

the journals. Mr. Jones, of Brazoria, proposed a bill providing that 
the president issue his proclamation "to cause the sense of the peo- 
ple to be taken on the subject of locating the seat of government at 
the city of Austin, the place selected by the committee appointed 
by congress for that purpose" so that the next congress might act 
definitely and finally on the subject of the permanent location of 
the seat of government, and that "all the contracts or reservations 
made by the said committee be, and they are hereby confirmed, and 
the sum of $6,000 appropriated for that purpose, and placed at the 
disposal of said committee/' 1 The bill proposed by Mr. Rusk pro- 
vided for the appointment by congress of three commissioners who 
were to select not less than two nor more than four places for the 
permanent location of the seat of government; one of said places 
to be east, the other west of the Brazos river ; each place to contain 
not less than four miles square of land, and more if convenient. 
Said commissioners were to begin work on July 15th next, make 
provisional contracts, and publish in the newspapers a description 
of each place selected. The president was to issue his proclamation, 
directing the voters to designate the place of their choice at the 
next election. The returns were to be sent in triplicate to the 
secretary of state, speaker of the house, and president of the senate, 
and congress was to open and count the vote and declare the place 
having the highest number the permanent seat of government of 
the Republic of Texas. 2 

(4) The Third Commission to Select a Site, January 14 April 

13, 1839. 

a. The Question of Locating the Seat of Government an Issue 
in the Campaign of 1888. The interest centering around the ques- 
tion of the location of the seat of government during the closing 
days of the session of congress was by the adjournment of that 
body on May 24, 1838, transferred to the newspapers and the 
stump; for an election of all the representatives, of one-third the 

e Journal, 2 Tex. Cong., 3 Sess., 170. 
2 Ibid., 167, 168. For a denunciation of the president's veto of the bill 
designating Eblin's League as the site of the location of the seat of gov- 
ernment, see the presentment of the grand jury of Fayette county, dated 
October 25, 1839. (Lotto, Fayetle County, 176.) 

208 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

senators, and of a president and vice-president was to be held on 
the first Monday in September. It was the first full fledged national 
campaign witnessed in Texas. In it there was much that did noi 
rise above mere personalities ; yet the best interests of the Republic 
were not overlooked ; a rough platform was constructed which pro- 
vided remedies for such measures as had proved unpopular and 
outlined a policy for the upbuilding of Texas in the future. The 
location of the seat of government west of the Brazos was one of 
the planks of this platform. 1 

It will have been noted that thus far the financial phase of the 
seat of government question has been most prominent. At Houston 
the government was obliged to pay a rental of $5,000 a year for 
the building occupied. By a judicious selection of some point in 
the interior, it was anticipated that the government would not only 
realize sufficient sums from the sale of lots to erect buildings for its 
own use, but also that at the same time other and more important 
benefits would accrue to the Republic. For example, T. Jefferson 
Chambers, in his proposition of Nashville or the Falls of the 
Brazos, represented that such point should be chosen as was "most 
convenient to the whole Republic on account of its centrality, both 
with regard to its population and territorial limits, and which 
will also extend and protect our frontier by the population that will 
be naturally attributed to the capital and its neighborhood." 2 

It was up the valleys of the Brazos and of the Colorado that popu- 
lation was now beginning to spread rapidly. The Telegraph for 
January 13, 1838, reports that 

A gentleman who lately arrived from Bastrop, states that im- 
mense numbers of emigrants are constantly arriving in that sec- 
tion. He believes that three quarters of the present settlers of the 
county have arrived since August last. 

And the editor of the Matagorda Bulletin states in his paper for 
March 7, 1838, that 

Several of our citizens have just returned from the up-country 
and the far West, where they have been engaged since the opening 
of the land office, in locating their lands. They bring the most flat- 
tering accounts of the emigration which is now pouring into the 

*Matagcrda Bulletin, August 9, 1838. 
"Seat of Government Papers, MS. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 209 

interior, with a rapidity altogether unparalleled in the settlement 
of the country. The new comers we understand are nearly all farm- 
ers, and are now making extensive preparations to cultivate the 
soil. The Colorado, up to the base of the mountains, is alive with 
the opening of new plantations, and towns and villages seem to be 
springing up spontaneously along its banks. 

Surely this intelligence must be gladdening to the heart of every 
true and patriotic Texian. To accelerate our already unexampled 
progress in the high road to prosperity, we desire nothing more 
than a hardy, industrious and agricultural population: . . . 
they are the very backbone of a nation. . . . 

Fear that the current of immigration might be checked had its 
origin in part in the hostile attitude of Mexico and to a greater 
extent in the hostility of the Indians along the frontier. 
"Houston had pursued with the Indians a policy of con- 
ciliation, but toward the end of his term, when settlers 
began to push westward, conflicts became frequent, and cow- 
ardly massacres were of common occurrence. As a resut, popula- 
tion was still practically restricted to the territory east of the San 
Antonio road, and while as yet this section was in no danger of 
strangulation from over-crowding, measures looking toward expan- 
sion do not appear to have been unwise. Lamar's aggressiveness 
was but the natural reaction against Houston's long-suffering for- 
bearance." 1 Eather Lamar's so-called aggressiveness was an at- 
tempt to extend to the frontier that degree of protection which 
would render those regions safe and make them attractive to the 

The strength of candidates in the West depended upon their 
favorable attitude toward the subjects of immigration and frontier 
protection. In advocating the election of M. B. Lamar, the Mata- 
gorda Bulletin for March 28, 1838, says 

But above all, the character and qualifications of the next chief 
magistrate of the Eepublic of Texas, should be extensively and 
favourably known, to the people of the United States. Emigration, 
which is so earnestly and ardently desired by every good and pa- 
triotic citizen, and which alone can hasten the rising greatness of 
this flourishing republic, will be checked or promoted by the char- 
acter of the man whom we shall elevate to that distinguished office. 

University of Texas Record, V 153, 154. 

210 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

And a correspondent of the same paper, writes, in the issue for 
August 24, 1838, of George Sutherland, candidate from Matagorda 
for the senate : 

He is truly Western in his feelings as well as interest, and there- 
fore, when brought to the test in any great measure, in which the 
West would be concerned, we would know where to find him and 
what to depend upon for instance, the location of the seat of gov- 
ernment, and we know that this great question will come up, and 
be finally disposed of during the next three years. He has no inter- 
est in the East, to paralize his influence and to cool his zeal; his 
entire interest is West of the Colorado he was not barely "de- 
sirous" to locate the seat of government on the Colorado ; and did 
not manifest a simple anxiety for that location, as has been said of 
others. But he was most zealous and active during the last session 
of Congress in obtaining the location of the seat of government at 
La Grange. To no one member, more than to George Sutherland 
could be attributed the success which the Western members had in 
that measure. . . . The Seat of Government will be perma- 
nently located during the next two years; and no measure can be 
so big with consequences to the West, and particularly to the citi- 
zens of this Senatorial District as its location on the Colorado. It 
will promote emigration to the West, thereby giving protection to 
the frontier settlements, and enhancing the value of our lands. It 
will also increase most rapidly the settlement of the lands of the 
Colorado, and of the country west of it, thereby increasing the cap- 
ital and interest of that section of the country, which will result in 
important public improvements, increasing the facilities of com- 
merce and trade. . . . 

&. The Act Creating the Third Commission. The third con- 
gress assembled at Houston in regular session on November 5, 1838. 
On the 15th of the same month Mr. Cullen, of San Augustine, in- 
troduced a bill "entitled an act for the permanent location of the 
seat of government." 1 Nothing, however, was done till after the 
inauguration of the new administration on December 10th. The 
subject was then taken up and a lengthy parliamentary contest fol- 
lowed. 2 As will be seen by referring to the act, it was proposed to 
take the matter entirely out of the hands of congress after the 
passage of this bill and to vest commissioners with the powers 
necessary to make a final selection of the site. The points most 

*House Journal, 3 Tex. Cong., 53. 

Wid., 145, 196, 200-3, 204-6, 210, 211, 214, 215, 218, 220-229, 232, 292, 
297, 331 ; Senate Journal, ibid., 75, 78-80, 82-84. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 211 

hotly contested were (1) the limits of the territory within which to 
locate the seat of government; 1 (2) the right of the commissioners 
to make a final selection of the site the majority favoring this 
method, while the minority contended for a selection of two sites 
within the proposed limits, leaving the final selection to the peo- 
ple; 2 and (3) the time of removing from Houston. A decision 
of this last point was reserved until a later time. The final passage 
of the act determining the first and second questions was hailed as 
a distinct victory by the people of the West. .On receipt of the 
news, the Matagorda Bulletin said, in its issue of January 

We are glad, very glad to hear, at least, that something positive 
has been done in this matter, as it will no doubt be the means of 
doing away with the many harassing hopes, doubts and fears, which 
have constantly been kept afloat since the first agitation of this 

President Lamar approved the bill January 14, 1839. That 
part of the act relating to the creation of a commission and the 
selection of a site is as follows : 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives of the Republic of Texas in Congress assembled, That there 
shall be and are hereby created five Commissioners, to be elected, 
two by the Senate and three by the House of Eepresentatives, whose 
duty it shall be to select a site for the location of the Seat of Gov- 
ernment, and that said site shall be selected at some point between 
the rivers Trinidad and Colorado, and above the old San Antonio 

1 \Ve believe a majority of the members [of congress] are in favor of re- 
moving it [the seat of government] from Houston, but great diversity of 
opinion exists relative to the point at which it shall hereafter be located. 
Many of the eastern members are desirous that it should be located upon 
or near the Brazos, and many of the western members prefer the Colorado 
for the site. The few who desire to retain the seat of government at Housi- 
ton, thus far appear to hold the balance of power. Telegraph, quoted by 
the Matagorda Bulletin, January 10, 1839. 

2 And from what quarter, Mr. Speaker, does this cry about the People 
come? Does it come from the East, where much the larest portion of the 
People reside? Does it come from the West? Where does it come from, 
but from Houston itself. If, Mr. Speaker, the People havo cried out at 
all, and they have in a voice which has been heard throughout the whole 
land, it has been to remove the seat of Government from Houston. From 
the speech of Mr. Holmes, delivered December 27, 1838, quoted in the 
Matagorda Bulletin, January 17, 1839. 

212 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the name of said site shall 
be the city of Austin. 1 

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That said commissioners or a 
majority of them be, and they are hereby required to select, not 
less than one nor more than four leagues of land for said site, and 
if the same cannot be obtained upon the public domain, or by in- 
dividual donation, then and in that case the said commissioners 
shall purchase the aforesaid quantity of land from any person or 
persons owning the same : Provided, That the price of the land so 
purchased, shall not exceed three dollars per acre: And further 
provided, That not more than one league shall be purchased at so 
high a price as three dollars per acre. 

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That if the site selected by said 
commissioners shall be on individual property, and said commis- 
sioners shall not be able to purchase the same as herein before pro- 
vided, then and in that case they shall be and are hereby authorized 
aLd required to make application to the Chief Justice of the county 
court of the county in which said land may be situated; setting 
forth by petition the name or names of the owner or owners, where 
the land lies, giving a full description of the same, and the cause 
of their application; whereupon it shall be the duty of said Chief 
Justice to cause the sheriff or other officer of said county to summon 
six disinterested jurors, living within the county, to be and appear 
at the court house, on a day to be named by said Chief Justice, 
within not less than five nor more than fifteen days after said ap- 
plication is made, whose duty it shall be, after taking the requisite 
oath, to be administered by the Chief Justice, to hear testimony 
and determine upon the value of said lands; a majority of two 
thirds of said jurors shall be requisite to a verdict, which verdict 
shall be returned to the Chief Justice, and shall be final between 
the parties, and upon which the Chief Justice shall make his de- 
cree: Provided, always, That the owner or owners of said land 
shall have at least five days' notice, in the same manner and form 
as the law provides for defendants in other cases ; all of which pro- 
ceedings shall be recorded in the clerk's office of the county court, 
and an exemplification of the same given to said commissioners. 

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That the fees of said Chief Jus- 
tice and sheriff, and that the pay of said jurors shall be the same 
that the law provides for in other cases for similar services, and 
that the same shall be paid by the owner or owners of said prop- 
erty, to be collected as in other cases; and that the sheriff of said 
county shall be and he is hereby authorized and required to make 

'The name City of Austin -was adopted by the senate in lieu of that of 
"City of Texas" which had been adopted by the house of representatives. 
Austin was the name that had been given to the site on Eblin's League. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 213 

to the Republic of Teaxs a deed or title to said land, which shall 
be recorded as in other cases, and delivered by said sheriff over to 
eaid commissioners. 

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That said commissioners shall be 
notified of their election by the President, that they shall enter into 
bond with good security of one hundred thousand dollars each, to 
be approved by the President, payable to him and his successors in 
office, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of 
their office; that they shall take and subscribe the following oath, 
which the President shall cause to be administered by an officer 
authorized to administer the same : that "I, A B, do solemnly swear 
(or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will faithfully and honestly 
perform the duties of commissioner for the location of the Seat of 
Government: That I will keep secret from all and every person 
whatsoever, all the proceedings, actings, doings, deliberations and 
intentions of myself and associates, so far as relates to our proceed- 
ings as commissioners : That I will, neither directly nor indirectly, 
neither in my own name nor in the name of another person, neither 
by myself or agent, nor in connection with any other person, pur- 
chase, bargain or contract for any lands, tenements or heredita- 
ments, within this Republic, from this time until my duties as com- 
missioner shall have terminated." That said bond shall be filed in 
the office of the Secretary of State ; that said commissioners shall be 
authorized to draw a draft or drafts on the Treasurer of the Re- 
public for such sum or sums of money as may be necessary for the 
payment of the land purchased by them, payable at such time as 
may be agreed on by the contracting parties ; which drafts shall be 
signed by the commissioners and countersigned by the President; 
and that said commissioners shall commence their duties from and 
immediately after the close of the present session of Congress ; that 
they shall discharge all the duties herein required of them; that 
they shall make a full and complete return and report of all their 
actings and doings as commissioners, to the President of the Re- 
public, within three months from and after which time they shall 
be and are hereby forever discharged. 

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That the said commissioners 
shall be, and are hereby allowed eight dollars per diem, durmg 
their term of service, one half of which shall be paid when they 
commence, and the other half when they close their duties; and 
that a draft or drafts drawn by the Secretary of State in favor 
of said commissioners, on the Treasurer, shall be sufficient vouchers 
and authority for his paying the same. 

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That from and immediately 
after the election of said commissioners, the Speaker of the House 
of Representatives shall furnish the President the names of said 

214 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

The foregoing act is remarkable ; it vested a few individuals with 
extraordinary powers and confided to their judgment the settlement 
of a most perplexing public question. It proved very effectual in 
the accomplishment of the end for which it was designed. The 
number of commissioners and the manner of their choice was the 
same as in the case of the second commission. There is room for 
doubt whether it was intended that members of congress should 
serve on the third commission. The expression "that said commis- 
sioners shall commence their duties from and immediately after the 
close of the present session of congress/* being similar to the lan- 
guage in the act creating the second commission, together with the 
precedent set by constituting the second commission exclusively of 
members of congress, lend some color to the view that members of 
congress should serve or ai least be eligible to serve on this com- 
mission. Notwithstanding all this, others contended that members 
of congress were barred from serving on the commission by con- 
stitutional provision. The restriction of the commissioners to that 
section of country lying between the rivers Trinity and Colorado 
and above the old San Antonio road can not fail to excite the sur- 
prise of every one at all familiar with its primeval condition. The 
old San Antonio road crossed the Trinity at Robbins Ferry, the 
Brazos near Tenoxtitlan, and the Colorado at Bastrop; it formed 
the northern boundary of Austin's colony, the settled portion of 
central Texas. In January, 1839, there were but a few villages lo- 
cated north of this road; none of them possessed a population of 
one hundred inhabitants, except perhaps Bastrop ; 'the whole section 
was exposed to Indian depredations. The measures adopted to secure 
the public interest were practical and adequate. No other officer 
of the Republic of Texas was required to give bond in the amount 
fixed for each commissioner, and it is difficult to see how an oath 
more explicit and yet more comprehensive could have been de- 

That this act should escape criticism was not to be expected. To 
follow popular opinion in regard to it fully, one should have 
perused a file of each of the dozen newspapers published in Texas 
at that time. The collection available for this work includes only 
three for the early part of 1839. Until the founding of the Morn- 
ing Star, at Houston, on April 8, 1839, the first daily published 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 215 

in Texas, the opposition appears to have had no suitable organ to 
voice their dissatisfaction. This paper contended (1) that 
the idea of locating the seat of government by commissioners, ap- 
pointed by congress, "seems to us entirely absurd the only satis- 
factory way is to leave it exclusively to the people;" 1 and (2) that 
the act under which the seat of government was located was uncon- 
stitutional, inasmuch as it interfered with a contract previously 
made the act locating the seat of government at Houston until 
1840. 2 

c. Election of the Commissioners. The commissioners to select 
the site for the location of the seat of government were chosen by 
their respective houses of congress on January 15th 3 and 16th. 4 
A. C. Horton, of Matagorda, and I. W. Burton, of Nacogdoches, 
were chosen by the senate, and William Menifee, of Colorado, Isaac 
Campbell, of San Augustine, and Louis P. Cooke, of Brazoria, were 
selected by the house of representatives two from western, two 
from eastern, and one from central Texas. These men were all 
members of congress at the time of their election. The question of 
eligibility of members of congress to this commission was raised 
in the senate; a motion was made to the effect that no member of 
the senate be selected, but the motion was lost by a vote of 3 to 9. 5 
Furthermore, of the nine men nominated in the senate five were 
non-members, but the election resulted in favor of those being mem- 
bers. In the house of representatives only members were placed in 

On January 18 two days after the election of the commission- 
ers the reporter of the house of representatives wrote to the editor 
of the Matagorda Bulletin: "It appears to be the general impres- 
sion here, at present, that the Colorado will be the favored river 

^Morning Star, April 12, 1839. This objection might have been answered 
by pointing to the fact that in May, 1838, congress had voted down a 
proposition to submit this question to the people ( p. above ) , and that 
the people gave no instructions to the representatives elected in September 
following, although they were aware that this subject would again be con- 

^Morning Star, April 30, June 30, and July 27, 1839. 

'Senate Journal, 3 Tex. Cong., 108-110. 

'House Journal, ibid., 358. 

*Wm. H. Wharton filed a written protest against the action taken by 
this vote. Senate Journal, 3 Tex. Cong., 109, 110. 

216 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

whose banks will be honored by the metropolis of Texas." 1 The 
next day .January 19th an anonymous writer at Houston stated 

I am confidently of the opinion that the commissioners will select 
some point on the Colorado, ... If the seat of Government 
should be on the Colorado or near it, the improvement of W. Texas 
will be unprecedented in the annals of the world. . . . It i& 
certainly a new idea in the history- of the world that the seat of Gov- 
ernment should be situated on the frontier, that we should invade 
the country of the enemies of the white man with the archives of 
the nation, but any man who is acquainted with the situation of 
that beautiful country to which the commissioners are confined, 
will be satisfied that the prosperity of Texas will be rapidly ad- 
vanced by a location in that section of the country. It will cause- 
the immediate settlement of one of the most desirable countries on 
the continent of America. I have no doubt that the new city will 
contain one or two thousand inhabitants by the first of October next. 
There will be citizens enough around the spot to defend it from 
the attacks of all the forces which can be brought against it. 2 

d. Report of the Commissioners. Congress adjourned January 
24, 1839. It was made the duty of the commissioners to take up 
their work immediately thereafter. The. anonymous writer of the 
letter, quoted above, states that the commissioners had agreed to 
start on the 10th of February next to select a site for the seat of 
government. Fully two months elapsed before anything was learned 
in regard to their proceedings. The Morning Star of April 15th 
printed the following account of their final meeting at Houston: 

City of Houston, 
April 13, 1839. 

We the commissioners appointed for locating permanently 
the seat of government of the republic of Texas, having met this 
day by appointment at the Capital, the question was put by the 
chairman, A. C. Horton, as to which river, the Brazos or Colorado 
with the respective selections on each had the highest claims to our 
consideration in the discharge of the duty assigned us. The vote 
stood as follows: for the Colorado, Messrs. A. C. Horton, William 
Menifee, and L. P. Cooke; for the Brazos, Messrs. I. W. Burton and 
Isaac Campbell. 

The question was then put by the chair, as to which of the selec- 
tions on the Colorado river, viz: Bastrop or Waterloo was entitled 

*Matagorda Bulletin, January 24, 1839. 

2 Letter dated Houston, Texas, January 19, 1839, reprinted by the Texas 
Monument, October 16, 1850, from the Alabama Observer. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 217 

to their preference. It was unanimously determined that Waterloo, 
and the lands condemned and relinquished around it, was the 
proper site and was therefore their choice. 

A. C. Horton, Chairman. 
I. W. Burton, 
L. P. Cooke, 
Wm. Menifee, 
Isaac Campbell. 

Of even date with the above is the "full and complete return and 
report of all their actings and doings as commissioners" required 
by law to be made to the president : 

City of Houston 
April 13th A. D. 1839 

His Excellency, 

Mirabeau B Lamar, 

President of the Republic of Texas, 

The Commissioners appointed under an act of Congress dated 
January 1839, for locating the permanent site of the Seat of Gov- 
ernment for the Republic, have the honor to report to your Excel- 

That they have selected the site of the Town of Waterloo on the 
East Bank of the Colorado River with the lands adjoining as per 
the Deed of the Sheriff of Bastrop County bearing date March 
1839, and per the relinquishments of Logan Vandever, James 
Rogers, G. D. Hancock, J. W. Herrall, and Aaron Burleson by 
Edward Burleson all under date of 7th March 1839, as the site 
combining the greatest number of, and the most important advan- 
tages to the Republic by the location of the Seat of Government 
thereon, than any other situation which came under their observa- 
tion within the limits assigned them, and as being therefore their 
choice for the location aforesaid. 

We have the honor to represent to your Excellency that we have 
traversed and critically examined the country on both sides of the 
Colorado and Brazos Rivers from the Upper San Antonio road to, 
and about the falls, on both those rivers and that we have not neg- 
lected the intermediate country between them, but have examined 
it more particularly than a due regard to our personal safety did 
perfectly warrant. We found the Brasses River more central per- 
haps in reference to actual existing population, and found in it and 
its tributaries perhaps a greater quantity of fertile lands than are 
to be found on the Colorado, but on the other hand we were of 
the opinion that the Colorado was more central in respect to Ter- 
ritory, and this in connection with the great desideratums of health, 

218 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

fine water, stone, stone coal, water power &c, being more abundant 
and convenient on the Colorado than on the Brassos river, did more 
than counterbalance the supposed superiority of the lands as well 
as the centrality of position in reference to population, possessed 
by the Brassos river. 

In reference to the protection to be afforded to the frontier by 
the location of the Seat of Government, a majority of the Com- 
missioners are of the opinion that that object will be as well at- 
tained by the location upon the one river as upon the other, being 
also of the opinion that within a very short period of time follow- 
ing the location of the Seat of Government on the Frontier, the 
extension of the Settlements produced thereby, will engender other 
theories of defence, on lands now the homes of the Comanche and 
the Bisson. 

The site selected by the Commissioners is composed of nve t 
of leagues of lands and two labors, all adjoining and having a front 
upon the Colorado river somewhat exceeding three miles in breadth 
It contains seven thousand seven hundred and thirty five acres land 
and will cost the Eepublic the sum of Twenty one thousand dollars 
or thereabouts, one tract not being surveyed. Nearly the whole 
front is a Bluff of from thirty to forty feet elevation, being the 
termination of a Prairie containing perhaps two thousand acres, 
composed of chocolate colored sandy loam, intersected by two beau- 
tiful streams of permanent pure water, one of which forms at 
debouche into the river a timbered rye bottom of about thirty acres 
These rivulets rise at an elevation of from sixty to one hundred 
feet on the back part of the site of the tract, by means of which 
the contemplated city might at comparatively small expense be wel 
watered, in addition to which are several fine bluff springs of pure 
water on the river at convenient distances from each other. 

The site is about two miles distant from and in full view 
of the Mountains or breaks of the Table Lands which, judging by 
the eye, are of about three hundred feet elevation. They are of 
Limestone formation and are covered with Live Oak and DwarJ 
Cedar to their summits. On the site and its immediate vicinity, 
stone in inexhaustable quantities and great varieties is found al- 
most fashioned by nature for the builders hands; Lime and 8t 
coal abound in the vicinity, timber for firewood and ordinary build- 
ing purposes abound on the tract, though the timber for building 
in the immediate neighborhood is not of so fine a character as 
might be wished, being mostly Cotton wood, Ash, Burr Oak Hack- 
berry, Post Oak and Cedar, the last suitable for shingles and small 

TVfl TYlfifi 

At the distance of eighteen miles west by south from the site, on 
Onion Creek, "a stream affording fine water power" is a large body 
of very fine Cyprus, which is also found at intervals up the 1 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 219 

for a distance of forty miles, and together with immense quantities 
of fine Cedar might readily be floated down the stream, as the falls 
two miles above the site present no obstruction to floats or rafts, 
being only a descent of about five feet in one hundred and fifty 
yards over a smooth bed of limestone formation very nearly re- 
sembling colored marble. By this route also immense quantities of 
stone coal, building materials, and in a few years Agricultural 
and Mineral products for the contemplated city, as no rapids save 
ihose mentioned occur in the River below the San Saba, nor are 
they known to exist for a great distance above the junction of that 
stream with the Colorado. 

Opposite the site, at the distance of a mile, Spring Creek and its 
tributaries afford perhaps the greatest and most convenient water- 
power to be found in the Republic. Walnut Creek distance six 
miles, and Brushy Creek distant sixteen miles both on the east side 
of the river, afford very considerable water power. Extensive de- 
posits of Iron ore adjudged to be of very superior quality is found 
within eight miles of the location. 

This section of the Country is generally well watered, fertile in a 
high degree and has every appearance of health and salubrity of 
climate. The site occupies and will effectually close the pass by 
which the Indians and outlawed Mexicans have for ages past trav- 
eled east and west to and from the Rio Grande to Eastern Texas, 
and will now force them to pass by the way of Pecan Bayou and 
San Saba above the Mountains and the sources of the Guadalupe 

The Commissioners confidently anticipate the time when a great 
thoroughfare shall be established from Santa Fe to our Sea ports, 
and another from Red River to Matamoras, which two routs must 
almost of necessity intersect each other at this point. They look 
forward to the time when this city shall be the emporium of not 
only the productions of the rich soil of the San Saba, Puertenalis 
Hono 1 and Pecan Bayo, but of all the Colorado and Brassos, as also 
of the Produce of the rich mining country known to exist on those 
streams. They are satisfied that a truly National City could at no 
other point within the limits assigned them be reared up, not that 
other sections of the Country are not equally fertile, but that no 
other combined so many and such varied advantages and beauties 
as the one in question. The imagination of even the romantic will 
not be disappointed on viewing the Valley of the Colorado, and the 
fortile and gracefully undulating woodlands and luxuriant Prairies 
at a distance from it. The most sceptical will not doubt its healthi- 
ness, and the citizens bosom must swell with honest pride when 
standing in the Portico of the Capitol of his Country he looks 
abroad upon a region worthy only of being the home of the brave 

'Probably intended for Llano. 

220 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

and free. Standing on the juncture of the routs of Santa Fe and 
the Sea coast, of Red Kiver and Matamoras, looking with the same 
glance upon the green romantic Mountains, and the fertile and 
widely extended plains of his country, can a feeling of Nationality 
fail to arise in his bosom or could the fire of patriotism lie dormant 
under such circumstances. 

Fondly hoping that we may not have disappointed the expecta- 
tions of either our Countrymen or your Excellency, we subscribe 
ourselves Your Excellency's Most obedient Servants. 

A. .0. Horton, Chairman 
I. W. Burton 
William Menefee 
Isaac Campbell 
Louis P. Cooke 1 


(1) The Site, 

"They have selected the site of the Town of Waterloo on the 
East Bank of the Colorado River with the lands adjoining." 2 This 
sentence summarizes the result of the examination and delibera- 
tion of the commissioners, chosen to select a site for the permanent 
location of the seat of government of the infant Republic of Texas. 
Many considered these the magic words that would call into ex- 
istence a new and thriving metropolis, situated at the head of 
navigation of the Colorado, an entrepot that would soon divert the 
commerce of the prairies from its established route, and the seat of 
a "splendid national college filled with able and distinguished pro- 

The town of Waterloo, to quote the words of the editor of the 
Morning Star, "is situated in Bastrop county, about 35 miles above 
the city of Bastrop on the Colorado river, and nearly at the foot of 
the mountains. . . . There are in the town itself but four 
families at present, and in another settlement a few miles from it, 
about twenty. Such in brief is the description of the location given 
us by one of the commissioners." 3 

The name of the town of Waterloo had never appeared among 
those of the candidates for the location of the seat of government. 
Perhaps, the only mention of its name heard in congress was at the 

'Seat of Government Papers, MS. 

2 See statement of commissioners, p. 217 above. 

"Morning Star, April 15, 1839. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 221 

time of the passage of "An Act to Incorporate the Towns of Co- 
manche and Waterloo," approved January 15, 1839. l Various rea- 
sons have been surmised why the commissioners should have se- 
lected this site. 2 To the student who has carefully scruti- 
nized the facts, the reasons stated by the commissioners 
in their report to President Lamar will appear both straight- 
forward and sufficient. The commissioners do not claim 
to have found the ideal location nor that "nature appears to have 
designated this place for the future seat of government;" they 
simply state that their selection is the best location within the 
limits assigned them. There was room for difference of opinion 
in regard to the fitness of the site for the purposes to which it was 
to be dedicated, without necessarily condemning the action of the 
commissioners. This fact, however, was not always kept in mind 
by the opponents of the city of Austin. 

Opposition to the site developed as soon as its location was ascer- 
tained. The Morning Star charged, first, that the commissioners 
had not performed their duties conscientiously; "we believe that 
as many as three sites have been examined/' 1 Secondly, it stated 
that the only reason it was able to discover for selecting Austin was, 
that the commissioners there found "vacant lands to locate." 4 
It further objected to the site of Austin on the ground 

it possesses none of the advantages of a city timber being scarce, 
water not too abundant, the situation remote from the Gulf, and 
there being no navigable stream near it, at least at present, the 
immediate surrounding country not being fertile, and the town 
being at the end of the road, beyond which there is nothing to 
see/' 6 

These objections were effectually disposed of by a correspondent 
of the Telegraph, July 31, 1839, who was familiar with Austin ani 
its vicinity. 

'Lou's of the Republic of Texas. Passed the First Session of Third Con- 
gress, 1839, p. 48. 


1 Morning Star, April 12, 1839. 

*fbid., July 18, 1839. A. C. Horton replied to these or similar charges 
in the convention of 1845; see: Weeks, Debates of the Texas Convention 
11845], p. 563. 

"/bid., July 27, 1839. 

222 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Another objection to Austin was raised by the Morning Star 
which perhaps has never presented itself to the minds of many,, 
and that is the remoteness of the new location from the coast, and 
the delay which must thereby result in the transmission of im- 
portant information to the Executive department of the Republic. 
. . . Ours is almost entirely a country of foreign relations, and 
such being the case, it seems indispensable that the seat of govern- 
ment should be located near the coast, in order that all information 
may be received at headquarters as soon as possible. This objection 
to the new location may not always exist, it is true; but until we 
shall have become rich enough to have rail-roads, by means of which 
to transport news, it certainly must be regarded as a great one. 1 

No doubt there was much truth in this statement. But the truth- 
fulness was not the sole criterion by which to determine the part it 
should play in the discussion of this new question. It must be 
shown that the location of the seat of government near the coast 
would contribute more to the peace, security, settlement, progress 
and prestige of the country than its location at Austin. Texas pos- 
sessed a navy capable of protecting its seacoast. "The propriety of 
placing the seat of government on the frontier was largely dis- 
cussed during the last session of congress. The reasons urged in 
favor of it were such as met the approbation of a large majority of' 
the members, and of the nation." 2 

Again the Morning Star said : 

It seems not a little singular that it should have been thought 
advisable to locate the seat of government at a point where the- 
public archives will be in an unsafe condition from its proximity 
to both of our enemies, the Indians and Mexicans. It cannot be 
supposed that in case of an invasion, the settlers on the lower Colo- 
rado, on the Brazos, or in any part of the lower country, will leave 
their families, and their homes defenceless, and rally around the 
seat of government; and that city, both from its situation and ac- 
cessibility, is probably the first to which the enemy would march, 
after having taken Bexar. ... Do not, then, good sense and 
sound policy combine, in urging the propriety of permitting the 
seat of government to remain where it is, at least till the war is- 
over ? 3 

^Morning Star, June 12. 1839. 
^Telegraph, July 31, 1839. 
'Morning Star, July 1, 1839. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 223 

The admission made by the Morning Star in the preceding para- 
graph, if true, was certainly most undiplomatic and well suited to 
create a very unfavorable impression of the strength of the Republic 
of Texas. If true, all Texan diplomacy would have proved fruit- 
less, whether the seat of government had been located on the coast 
or elsewhere. The mere suspicion in Europe that Texas could not 
protect her archives and the government at a point near the 
geographical center of her imperial domain would have paralyzed all 
the negotiations of our ministers. Austin is at least two hundred 
miles from the nearest point on the Eio Grande. News of an in- 
vasion would outtravel any enemy sufficiently strong to endanger 
the seat of government. What portion of the frontier would be 
better prepared to meet an invasion than the seat of government 
with the executive, the secretary of war, and the postmaster general 
at hand to direct affairs ? And what of immigration ? Would new 
settlers risk their lives on the Texas frontier, after the facts alleged 
above were placed before them? And what did the infant Re- 
public of Texas need more than immigrants ? 

Now let the reader's attention be turned from what the oppo- 
nents had to say to the comments of friends of the West. On re- 
ceipt of the decision of the commissioners, the Matagorda Bulletin, 
May 2, 1839, said : 

We are almost every day seeing and conversing with persons who 
have visited Waterloo, the site selected for the recent location, and 
thus far, without a dissenting voice, all agree that it is a most 
judicious selection, and all speak in favorable terms of the beau- 
tiful country which surrounds it. ... 

In a national point of view it will benefit us much, as it will be 
the immediate means of condensing population at a very important 
point of the frontier, and in such numbers as will put an end to the 
predatory incursions of small parties of Indians, whose numerical 
or physical force in the field is in reality nothing, but still whose 
inroads keep the frontier in constant alarm. 

Notwithstanding all the inquiries which we have made relative 
to the dangers which some persons think might be expected by the 
citizens of Austin from Indian warfare, we have been unable to 
discover that any cause of consequence for such fears exist, except 
in the imaginations of those parties who put such emphasis on them 
from purposes which the people can easily imagine. 

We espouse the course of active vigilance and the taking prudent 
means to prevent any cause of fear existing, by keeping an armed 

224 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

force sufficient to ward off any dangers that might occur, but we 
cannot, from any circumstance within our knowledge, see any justifi- 
cation for ourselves in becoming unnecessary alarmists. 

Other notices along this line appeared in various papers. Below 
are given a few of the more comprehensive. The Morning Star, 
May 9, 1839, stated: 

The population between Washington and Lagrange has increased 
fourfold [in eighteen months], and Lagrange which at [the 
beginning of] that time had never been thought of for 
a town, now contains a population of four or five hun- 
dred inhabitants, and Rutersville, only five miles from La- 
grange, which was laid off only six months ago, now con- 
tains about three hundred souls. On the Colorado river, between 
Lagrange and Bastrop there was about a dozen houses ; now there is 
between two and three hundred. Bastrop at that time contained 
about twenty houses; it has now about two hundred, and many of 
them equal to the best houses in Houston. The settlements above 
Bastrop on the Colorado river, then consisted of about eight or ten 
families. It is now one of the thickest settlements in Texas. 

The Telegraph of June 12, 1839, said : 

Until the permanent location of the seat of government in that 
quarter of the frontier, many of the citizens were undetermined 
about remaining; but the final settlement of that point, together 
with the assurance that a number of regular forces will be kept up 
in the country, have removed any remaining doubts upon the sub- 

The Matagorda Bulletin of August 1, 1839, reported : 

The most cheering accounts are daily received of the immense 
emigration to the Upper Colorado and western country. We have 
always been satisfied that it was only necessary that the beautiful 
country situated there should be known to render it very shortly the 
most densely populated part of the Eepublic. The location of the 
seat of government at its present site has had the effect to bring it 
into notice. 

Austin proved its efficiency as a frontier defence before the gov- 
ernment was transferred thither. The commissioners in their re- 
port called attention to the fact that "the site occupies and will 
effectually close the pass by which the Indians and outlawed Mex- 
icans have for ages past traveled east and west to and from the 
Kio Grande to Eastern Texas." In May, 1839, while the seat of 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 225 

government was being surveyed, Manuel Flores and his band of 
Mexicans and Cherokees, who were on their way from Matamoras 
to Eastern Texas, were discovered while attempting to pass the 
Colorado by this old ford, pursuit was made, and they were over- 
taken a short distance from Austin. Flores was killed in the fray 
that ensued. The captured baggage of the party included several 
hundred pounds of powder and lead and documents that revealed 
or rather confirmed the fact that the Cherokees had entered into 
a plot with certain Mexican officials for the extermination of the 
whites in Texas. 1 The discovery of these documents was the direct 
occasion for the steps leading to the expulsion of the Cherokees 
from Texas and in this manner frustrating their designs upon the 
lives of the white population of this Eepublic. 

From the time of the removal of the government to Austin until 
the abandonment of that place, information of every large Indian 
foray and of the Mexican invasions in 1842 reached Austin at least 
a week earlier than it did those points situated near the Gulf coast. 

(2) Laying Out of the New City and the- First Sale of Lots. 

The act for the permanent location of the seat of government 
also provided for the laying out of the site to be selected and for 
the sale of the lots. The sections relating to these subjects are as 
follows : 

Sec. 9. Be it further enacted, That immediately after the Presi- 
dent receives the report of the commissioners, it shall be his duty 
to appoint an agent, whose duty it shall be to employ a surveyor at 
the expense of the Government, and have surveyed six hundred and 
forty acres of land on the site chosen by the commissioners into 
town lots, under the direction of the President, which shall be, by 
said agent, advertised for sale for ninety days in all the public 
gazettes in the Republic, and also in the New Orleans Bulletin and 
Picayune, and said lots shall be sold at auction, to the highest bid- 
der, between the hours of ten A. M. and four P. M., and said sales 
may continue from day to day at the discretion of the agent; Pro- 
vided, however, That not more than one half of said lots shall be 
sold at the first sale; and that said agent shall cause to be made 
ten plots of said city, one of which shall be deposited with the 
President, one with the Commissioner of the General Land Office, 
one with the Texas Consul in New Orleans, one with the Texas 
Consul at Mobile, and the remainder of which shall be retained by 

horning Star, May 25, 27, and 28, 1839. 

226 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the agent at said city; and the said agent shall receive a salary of 
eight dollars per diem, and a reasonable sum for purchasing sta- 
tionery, paying for printing, and a suitable office for the transac- 
tion of his business. 

Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That said agent shall take and 
subscribe the following oath, (to be administered by any one au- 
thorized to administer the same,) that "I, A B, do solemnly swear 
(or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will truly, honestly and 
faithfully discharge my duties as agent; that I will neither directly 
nor indirectly, by myself or agent, in my own name, or in the name 
of another or others, either publicly or privately, purchase, bargain 
or contract for more than six lots, or be in any way interested in 
the purchasing, bargaining or contracting for any other lot or lots, 
lands, tenements, hereditaments included in or appertaining to that 
tract or parcel of country purchased or obtained by this government 
for the location of the seat of government, either to take effect dur- 
ing my agency, or at any time thereafter, so long as my agency 
shall continue, so help me God." And that said agent shall give 
bond and security, to be approved by the President, in the just and 
full sum of one hundred thousand dollars, which bond shall be de- 
posited in the office of the Secretary of State, payable to the Presi- 
dent or his successors in office, conditioned for the faithful perform- 
ance of his duties. 

Sec. 11. Be it further enacted, That said lots shall be sold for 
one-fourth payable at the time of sale, and the balance in three 
equal instalments of six, twelve and eighteen months; that upon 
failure of any purchaser or purchasers to pay said instalments, 
within ten -days after they become due, the property so purchased 
shall revert to the Eepublic, and such person or persons shall for- 
feit the sum or sums of money paid on said property ; and the said 
agent shall issue his proclamation making known said reversion and 
forfeiture, and the same shall thereafter be subject to sale, as 
though it had never been sold; and that said agent shall receive 
nothing but gold and silver, or the promissory notes of the govern- 
ment, or any and all audited drafts against this government, for 
said lots; all of which said agent shall make known in his adver- 
tisements, and on the day or days of sale. 

Sec. 12. Be it further enacted, That the said agent, before the 
sale of said lots, shall set apart a sufficient number of the most 
eligible for a Capitol, Arsenal, Magazine, University, Academy, 
Churches, Common Schools, Hospital, Penitentiary, and for all 
other necessary public buildings and purposes. 

Sec. 13. Be it further enacted, That said agent shall immedi- 
ately after each and every sale, report to the secretary of the treas- 
ury, and pay over to him all the proceeds of the same, and take his 
receipt therefor; and said agent shall be subject to the orders of 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 227 

the President from time to time, and shall dispose of no other prop- 
erty belonging to the government except that laid off into town 
lots, until authorized by Congress. 1 

In compliance with section 9 the President promptly selected the 
man to act as agent. Even before the commissioners made their 
report, we find the following letter from the President's private 
secretary addressed to Edwin Waller and dated March 2, 1839 : 

His Excellency the President has instructed me to inform you 
that he will confer on you the appointment of Government Agent, 
for the new City of Austin, the future Capital of the Kepublic, 
and that he solicits an interview with you upon the subject as soon 
as practicable, preparatory to the necessary arrangements, etc. 2 

Mr. Waller's bond is dated April 12, 1839. 3 Before proceeding 
to the site of his labors, he placed the requisite advertisement in the 
newspapers, stating that the first sale of lots would take place about 
ninety days from that date, on August 1st next. 4 Mr. Waller set 
out for Austin in the early part of May. 

The Morning 8 tar of April 22, 1839, noted the fact that "Busi- 
ness in this city [Houston] is rapidly reviving. The roads are filled 
with teams from La Grange, Bastrop, and all the towns in the 
neighborhood of the newly located seat of government, coming down 
io obtain supplies." 

Writing from Austin on May 20, Mr. Waller stated that he had 
concluded a contract for surveying and laying off the lots with 
Pilie & Schoolfield, that the surveyors were to commence surveying 
the next day, and that he would urge on the work with all possible 
despatch. 5 

The plan of the city of Austin as laid out and surveyed under Mr. 
Waller's direction is shown by the accompanying reproduction of the 
first map. It will show at once the accuracy of the work, and the 
lofty conception held by the agent of what the future capital of 
Texas should be. Of prime importance was the selection of the 
most eligible site within the 7,735 acres constituting the govern- 

l Laws of the Republic of Texas, Passed the First Session of Third Con- 
gress, 1839, pp. 163-165. 

2 Seat of Government Papers, MS. 


*A copy of the advertisement, dated April 22, appeared in tlieMorning 
Star, April 23, 1839. 

"Seat of Government Papers, MS. 

228 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

meat's reservation. Here was an opportunity of making or marring 
a naturally beautiful location. Mr. Waller possessed the good 
taste as well as sound judgment to make the best of it; he selected 
the land lying between the "two beautiful streams" referred to by 
the commissioners. The broad streets, the excellent location of the 
capitol space, the names of the streets extending north and south 
who would change them now? 

As the time for the first sale of lots (August 1) approached, the 
Morning Star attempted to defeat it entirely by republishing every 
argument that had hitherto been put forward against the new site. 
For instance, it stated that 

there is no reason to believe that the location will be a permanent 
one; but as this was made by management, combined with self- 
interest, and as these components will exist in the next legislature, 
there is not the slightest guarantee that that body may not find it 
to its interest to move again. There can be but two reasons why 
congress should have stricken out the word 'permanent,' 1 each 
equally affecting the investment of money in lots in the new seat of 
government; and these are, either they Tcnew they were incompetent, 
or that if they had the right they could by leaving out the word, 
move the Capitol at pleasure, and thus make a series of specula- 
tions. The latter none would attribute to them : 2 the former, then, 
must be the true one. Whatever was the cause, the location is not 
permanent, and the investment of money in lots in the city is not 
a safe one. 3 

Contrasted with the foregoing is the following from the Mata- 
gorda Bulletin for July 18, 1839: 

The time is fast approaching when the public sale of Lots at the 
City of Austin . . . is to take place. . . . We under- 
stand that already numbers of persons are flocking to that point, 

'It is generally supposed that the act provides for its" permanent" loca- 
tion which is an error. That word was stricken out in the passage of the 
bill through the Senate, and can not be found in the body of it. Through 
an error of the clerk, it still remains in the caption. Morning Star, April 
20, 1839. 

'The legislature has shown on so many occasions such a vascillating 
spirit, and too often a disregard of the plighted faith of the nation, that 
the confidence of many persons in our integrity is much impaired, and as 
the location of the seat of government is only a matter of speculation, the 
ensuing congress having equal power with the preceding one, may take it 
into their hands to cancel the act of that body, and make still another 
location. Morning Star, June 26, 1839. 

"Morning Star, July 27, 1839; cf, ibid., April 20. June 20, 26, 27, July 
5, 8, 77, and 30. 

P S' ' 

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The Seat of Government of Texas. 229 

most of them with the intention of purchasing property on which 
to establish themselves as permanent settlers, others for the pur- 
pose of investing capital in the enterprise. . . . 

Many private individuals have their buildings already finished, 
with the purpose of immediately erecting them on their making a 
purchase, and we can scarcely imagine a more heart-stirring and 
cheering sight than will be presented at Austin during the time of 
the sale and after. . . . 

Although the Cherokee War diverted attention from Austin and 
centered it upon the eastern portion of the Republic at the very 
time when the first sale of lots was to occur, an eager throng of 
purchasers gathered on the day fixed, August 1st. Sheriff Charles 
King of Bastrop county was the auctioneer. * The sale continued for 
one day. Two hundred and seventeen lots, one-third of the whole 
number, were sold at prices ranging from $120 for the lowest to 
$2,700 for the highest. The total sales amounted to $300,000. 
The formal launching of the new city was regarded as satisfactory- 
and auspicious. 

3. Erection of the Public Buildings. 

Section 14 of the act for the permanent location of the seat of 
government provided for the erection of the public buildings at the 
site selected by the commissioners. It reads thus : 

Be it further enacted, That the President be, and he is hereby 
duly authorized and empowered to contract for all necessary public 
buildings, offices, &c., and draw on the treasurer for all such sums 
of money as may be necessary for the completion of the same. 2 

Section 1 of a supplementary act is as follows: 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
Republic of Texas in Congress assembled. That the President be, 
and he is hereby required to have erected at the point which may be 
selected for the location of the Seat of Government, agreeable to the 
provisions of the act to which this is a supplement, such buildings 
as he may deem necessary for the accommodation of the fourth an- 
nual Congress of this Republic, together with the President and 
cabinet and other officers of the Government : Provided. Such loca- 

^frs. Julia Tips Goeth, The First Sale of Town iMts in Austin, in 
The Austin Daily Statesman, March 19, 1905. 

*Laws of the Republic of Texas, Passed the First Session of Third Con- 
gress, 1839, p. 165. 

230 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

tion should not be made at a point where such buildings can be ob- 
tained. 1 

Mr. Edwin Waller, who had been appointed by the President 
agent to lay out the new site and conduct the first sale of lots, was 
also charged with the erection of the public buildings. 

The opponents of the removal from the city of Houston raised 
a hue and cry against the expenditure of the vast sums of money 
that would be required for these buildings. They alleged that this 
additional expense would prove very burdensome at this particular 
time. 2 To these objections the supporters of the city of Austin 
replied : 

We can see no reason or necessity why our Government should 
cause the immediate erection of public buildings of a splendid or 
costly nature, for the mere purpose of congressional or state depart- 
ments for the approaching session. Buildings of plain, simple, and 
least expensive kind will answer all the purposes required at pres- 
ent, and in the course of the next year, when the requisite con- 
veniences will be more easily obtained, or at such suitable time here- 
after as the Government may choose, buildings for the permanent 
use of the state can be more cheaply and substantially constructed. 3 

This, in fact, was the course pursued. The buildings were avow- 
edly of a temporary character and did not even occupy the sites 
reserved by the government for those to be erected for permanency 
in the future. The amount realized from the first sale of lots 
must have almost sufficed to pay the cost of the buildings con- 
structed by Waller. 

Mr. Waller displayed great energy and resourcefulness in over- 
coming the obstacles encountered in this new task, which certainly 
was not an ordinary one. Its very magnitude encouraged the op- 
position to hope for the defeat of the removal. For instance, the 
Morning Star of April 17, 1839, said: 

We consider the removal among the possibilities, but most cer- 
tainly not among the probabilities. It appears to us absurd to sup- 
pose that the indispensable accommodations can be prepared for the 
President and other officers of Government, within the time speci- 
fied by law. . . . The remoteness of the place selected from 

l Laws of the Republic of Texas, Passed the First Session of Third 
Congress, 1839, p. 90. 

'Morning Star, April 17 and 20, and June 20, 1839. 
"Matagorda Bulletin, May 2, 1839. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 231 

any city at which the absolute necessities for building can be ob- 
tained, together with the scarcity of provisions throughout the 
country, would seem to render every idea of an immediate removal 
preposterous in the extreme. 

Having satisfied their own minds that the incompleteness of the 
buildings would delay the removal of the government to Austin, 
the opponents saw a necessity for a called session of congress at 
Houston in the early fall. This congress, of course, they said would 
not ratify the site of the city of Austin. 1 In this manner the re- 
moval would in all probability be delayed for years. But the en- 
ergy of Waller in overcoming all obstacles dashed the plans of the 
opposition to the ground. A correspondent of the Telegraph, 
July 31, 1839, stated that "twenty or thirty buildings have already 
been completed, and that they are better buildings than were built 
during the first year in Houston. . . . The buildings will be 
ready, and be ready previous to the time prescribed by the law/' 

A list of the public buildings erected by Mr. Waller as well as a 
description of their location is contained in the documents below: 

State Department - 
December 3rd 1840 

In accordance with the resolution of the Honorable the House of 
Representatives of the 2nd Inst. the undersigned Secretary of State 
has the honor to submit the enclosed document, marked A, as pre- 
senting a schedule of all the public buildings known as such by the 
undersigned, and were all of them erected under a contract with E. 
Waller Esqr. before the removal of the Government from the City 
of Houston, . . . 

Your Obt Servant 

Abner S. Lipscomb 
Hon. David S. Kaufman 

Speaker of the House of Representatives. 


Memorandum of Lots on which Public Buildings have been erected. 
Block Lot 
124 1 L. P. Cooks residence 

6 Kitchen adjoining L. P. Cook's residence 

in the rear of alley between. 

110 6 [Judge Wallers residence] 2 Occupied by 

Committee on finance. 

1 Morning Star, April 12, 1839. 

'Words enclosed in brackets are lined through in the original schedule. 


Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 











[Kitchen in the rear of No. 6] unoccupied 
[Jno. D. McLeod's] Now occupied by State 
Dept. store room for Laws, Jourls. &c 


State Department 

Judge Burnets 

Navy Department 

Judge Webbs. (This is separated from 
11-83 by a line drawn between the Exec- 
utive office and Judge Webbs) 

Treasury Building 

Land Office 

Post Master General 

[Johnson & Starr] occupied by Comt. of 

Pay Master Genl. & Stock Commissioner. 

Commissary General 

1st Auditors office 

War Department 

Adjutant General's Office 

Quartermaster Generals- 

Mason's Residence 

Presidents House. 


The within list is correct 

Wm. Sevey 

Department Actg Sec. Treasury. 

28th 1840 1 


(1) The Act Fixing the Time of Removal. 

It will be remembered that the "act for the permanent location 
of the seat of government" provided for the selection of the site 
and, in a general way, for the construction of the public buildings. 

'Seat of Government Papers, MS. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 233 

But this act said nothing ahout the all important subject of re- 
moval from Houston, nor did it fix the time within which the new 
site should be surveyed, the lots sold, and the public buildings pro- 
vided. Here was a manifest defect. Whether the act was purposely 
cast in this form to facilitate its passage can scarcely be determined 
in the absence of the manuscript records of the act itself, which ap- 
pear to have been lost. It does seem that, after the passage of the 
abovementioned act, the passage of a supplementary act became a 
necessity in order to prevent much confusion. Before the lapse of 
ten days after the passage of the first act, President Lamar ap- 
proved "An Act Supplementary to an act entitled an act for the 
permanent location of the Seat of Government." 

Although this supplementary act determined one of the most 
sensitive points of the whole subject of removal the time of re- 
moval very little is to be gathered from the record of the pro- 
ceedings of congress in regard to it. 1 The Morning Star of June 
8, 1839, alleged that the law requiring the president and his cab- 
inet to resirl' 1 at the new seat of government after the first of the 
succeeding October "was passed at a time of great excitement, and 
consequently, when the members were not in the full exercise of 
their reasoning facilities." 

That part of the act relating to the time of removal is contained 
in section 2, and is as follows: 

Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the 
President, together with his cabinet officers, to proceed to the point 
selected for the location of the Seat of Government as aforesaid, 
together with the archives of this Government, previous to the first 
day of October next, at which place the fourth annual Congress of 
this Eepublic shall assemble on the second Monday in November 
next. 2 

(2) The Removal of the- Government to Austin. 

The removal of the archives, etc., preceded that of the chief offi- 
cials. No incident worthy of note appears to have attended the 

^House Journal, 3 Tex. Cong., 340, 341, 362, 371, 378, 384, 386; Senate 
Journal, ibid., 114, 116, 119. 

*Laws of the Republic of Texas, Passed the First Session of Third Con- 
gress, 1839, p. 90. 

234 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

same. The following brief paragraphs contain all the information 
the writer has found touching the transfer : 

In about twenty days, that is about the first of September, says 
common report, the officers of the government and the public 
archives will be on their "winding way" to the new city of Austin. 
Well, we have one consolation left, and that is, that we have done 
everything we could to prevent it, but it was of no avail. 1 

Between forty and fifty wagons freighted with the archives of 
the government, and books, papers, and furniture of the different 
Departments, have left here for the City of Austin, the new Seat 
of Government. 2 

By a gentleman from Austin we learn all government archives 
arrived at that city in safety, and that at the time of his leaving, 
all the offices of government were open for the transaction of busi- 
ness. 3 

President Lamar and a part of his cabinet followed later, reach- 
ing Austin October 17th. Their arrival was made the occasion for 
a grand celebration. An account of this interesting event is ex- 
tracted from the first number of the first newspaper published at 
the new seat of government, the Austin City Gazette for October 
30, 1839: 

In accordance with previous arrangements, such of the citizens 
as were- able to procure horses assembled at 11 o'clock, on the morn- 
ing of the seventeenth, for the purpose of escorting his Excellency 
the President into town. The Honorable E. Waller was appointed 
Orator, and Captain Lynch and Mr. Alex. Russell were appointed 
Marshalls for the day. Col. E. Burleson, at the special request of 
his fellow-citizens, took command of the whole. All arrangements 
being completed, the cavalcade moved forward in the following 
order : 

Col. E. Burleson General A. S. Johnston. 

The Marshalls. 

Citizen, Standard Citizen, 

bearing the motto on one side, 

"Hail to our Chief;" 

On the reverse, 

"With this we live" [STAE] "Or die defending." 
Orator of the day. 

Citizens, two and two. 

l Morning Star, August 13, 1839. 

"Colorado Gazette, September 28, 1839, quoting from the [Houston] In- 
"Telegraph, October 9, 1839. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 235 

After proceeding about two miles beyond the city boundary they 
met his Excellency, accompanied by the Hon. L. P. Cook, Major 
Sturges, J. Moreland, Esq., Private Secretary and others. By a 
military movement, Col. Burleson reversed the order of march so 
as to place the Marshalls, Standard Bearer, and Orator, in the rear 
of the company. He then halted his command and drew them up 
in two parallel lines. As General Lamar passed down between the 
lines, the Orator of the day, supported by the Marshalls, and fol- 
lowed by the Standard Bearer, moved up and met his Excellency 
about the center. The Hon. E. Waller, having introduced the 
President to the citizens there present, addressed him in the follow- 
ing language: 

"Having been called upon, by my fellow-citizens, to welcome your 
Excellency on your arrival at the permanent seat of government for 
the Republic, I should have declined doing so on account of con- 
scious inability, wholly unused as I am to public speaking, had 
I not felt that holding the situation here that I do, it was my duty 
to obey their call. With pleasure I introduce you to the Citizens 
of Austin; and, at their request, give you cordial welcome to a 
place which owes its existence, as a city, to the policy of your ad- 

'Hinder your appointment, and in accordance with your direc- 
tion, I came here in the month of May last, for the purpose of pre- 
paring proper accommodations for the transaction of the business 
of the Government. I found a situation naturally most beautiful, 
but requiring much exertion to render it available for the purposes 
intended by its location. Building materials and provisions were to 
be procured when both were scarce; a large number of workmen 
were to be engaged in the low country, and brought up in the heat 
of summer, during the season when fever is rife, and when here, 
our labors were liable every moment to be interrupted by the hos- 
tile Indians, for whom we were obliged to be constantly on the 
watch ; "many-tongued Rumor" was busy with tales of Indian 
depredations, which seemed to increase, in geometrical progression, 
to her progress through the country. Many who were on the eve 
of emigrating, were deterred by these rumors from doing so. In- 
terested and malicious persons were busy in detracting from the 
natural merits of the place ; and every engine of falsehood has been 
called into requisition to prevent its occupation for governmental 
purposes. Beauty of scenery, centrality of location, and purity of 
atmosphere, have been nothing in the vision of those whose views 
were governed by their purses ; and whose ideas of fitness were en- 
tirely subservient to their desire for profit. 

'Tinder all these disadvantageous circumstances, and more which 
I can not now -detail, a capitol, a house for the chief magistrate of 

236 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the republic, and a large number of public offices, were to be erected 
and in readiness for use in the short space of four months. 

"Not discouraged at the unpromising aspect of affairs, I cheer- 
fully undertook to obey your behests. Numbers of the present 
citizens of Austin soon emigrated hither; and with an alacrity and 
spirit of accommodation for which they have my grateful remem- 
brance, rendered us every assistance in their power. 

"To the utmost extent of my abilities I have exerted myself, and 
have succeeded in preparing such accommodations as, I sincerely 
hope, will prove satisfactory to your Excellency, and my fellow- 
citizens of Texas. 

"In the name of the citizens of Austin, I cordially welcome you 
and your cabinet to the new metropolis ; under your fostering care 
may it flourish ; and aided by its salubrity of climate, and its beauty 
of situation, become famous among the cities of the new world." 

His Excellency the President replied in a short but pithy and 
appropriate speech; and, after the cheering had somewhat sub- 
sided, the company was again put in motion, the march being di- 
rected homeward. As soon as his Excellency crossed the city line, 
a salute of twenty-one guns was fired from a six-pounder, under 
the superintendence of Major T. W. Ward. On reaching Mr. Bul- 
lock's hotel, where a sumptuous dinner was prepared for the occa- 
sion, a large concourse of citizens who had been unable, from want 
of horses or harness, to join in the cavalcade, stood ready to tender 
every mark of respect in their power, to the chief magistrate of the 


James Burke, Esq., President; Dr. R. F. Brenham, Vice-Presi- 

Among the guests who were present, we observed His Excellency 
the President, Col. E. Burleson, Hon. L. P. Cook, Secretary of the 
Navy; Gen. A. S. Johnston, Secretary of War; Hon. J. H. Starr, 
Secretary of the Treasury; A. Brigham, Esq., Treasurer; Col. W. 
G. Cook, Col. J. Snively, Major Sturges, J. Moreland, Esq.; C. 
Mason, Esq. ; M. Evans, Esq. ; Col. Johnson, Col. T. W. Ward, and 

The company took their seats at table, at 3 o'clock. The dinner 
provided under the immediate superintendance of Mrs. Bullock, re- 
flected great credit on that lady's taste and superior judgment, dis- 
played in the arrangement of the table, and in the delicacies which 
graced the festive board. After the cloth was removed, the Presi- 
dent of the day requested the attention of the company to a toast 
"which, he felt assured, would meet with the cordial approbation 
of every person whom he had the honor of addressing," he then 
gave, as the 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 237 

IST REGULAR TOAST. Our Guest, Mirabeau B. Lamar, Presi- 
dent of the Eepublic of Texas: His valor in the field of battle 
signally contributed to the achievement of Texian independence 
his wisdom as a statesman has given vigor and firmness to our gov- 
ernment, and elevated its character abroad; his lofty patriotism 
and distinguished public services command the admiration and 
gratitude of his fellow-citizens. 

Which was drank with the utmost enthusiasm. As soon as the 
cheering had somewhat subsided, His Excellency made a truly elo- 
quent reply, which, we are sorry, it is not in our power to give en- 
tire, or even in part. He concluded by requesting the company to 
join in the folloging toast, which was heartily responded to by all 
present : 

The worthy founder of our new seat of government, Judge 
Waller: By the touch of his industry there has sprung up, like 
the work of magic, a beautiful city, whose glory is destined, in a 
few years, to overshadow the ancient magnificence of Mexico. 

The presiding officers then gave the remainder of the regular 
toasts in the order as follows: 

2. Our country: The star of her destiny has emerged from 
the clouds that obscured it, and is now fixed in the political firma- 
ment; may its luster continue undimmed by foreign aggression or 
domestic dissension. 

3. The Constitution and the Laws the vital spirit of the body 
politic: Whilst they are maintained pure and uncontaminatei by 
political corruption, Liberty and Justice have here an abiding place. 

4. The United States: Their history for the last sixty-three 
years has disproved the false doctrine of tyrants, and show[n] to 
the world that man is capable of self-government. 

5. The Hon. David G. Burnet, Vice-President of Texas : The 
history of his country is his best eulogy; he has "done the state 
Borne service and they know it:" we can say to him in the spirit 
of truth and justice, and in the voice of the whole people of Texas, 
"Well done thou good and faithful servant." 

6. The memory of Stephen F. Austin : Whatever may be the 
pretensions of others to the paternity of Texas, we recognize him 
alone as the "Father of this Eepublic." 

7. Education the safeguard of republican institutions: It 
ehould be sustained and cherished by every friend of civil liberty. 

8. The Press: May it be conducted in the spirit of disinter- 
ested patriotism, as the honest echo of the public sentiment, and 
never be polluted by the poisonous influence of party. 

9. Col. E. Burleson: His valor in the field is only equalled 
by his virtues in private life. In the history of his country, he 
will rank as the Sumter of the West. 

238 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

10. The Federalists of Mexico: May they speedily triumph 
over the despotic party which now keeps their country in civil war, 
and give the tree of Constitutional Liberty a firm foundation in 
the city of the Montezumas. 

11. Agriculture: The surest foundation of our permanent 
prosperity ; may it share largely in the industry and energy of our 
citizens, and be an object of paramount importance with our legis- 

12. Trial by Jury and Eight of Suffrage the main pillars of 
free government : Whilst they stand upright, firmly based on pub- 
lic virtue, the malign influence of despotic governments cannot 
reach the glorious edifice they sustain. 

13. The memory of Col. Benjamin Milam the bayard of 
Texas: A more gallant spirit never sprung from the "dark and 
bloody ground" of Kentucky, to battle in the cause of human 
liberty; as long as honor, patriotism and valor are appreciated by 
his countrymen, he will be gratefully remembered as the Hero of 
the West. 

The regular Toasts having been drunk, the following was then 
given by the Chair: 

David G. Burnet In private life, the obliging neighbor, the 
public spirited citizen, the devoted husband, the affectionate father, 
In public service, the sagacious statesman, the wise and disin- 
terested politician, the able Cabinet officer the bold and courag- 
eous soldier his country's voice loudly and almost unanimously 
calls upon him to fill the Presidential Chair during the next term. 

After which Dr. Brenham, Vice-President gave: 

The Government of Texas: May it always be administered by 
honest and capable men for the interests of the whole people, and 
never be used as an instrument in the hands of unprincipled and 
designing politicians for personal aggrandizements and the advance- 
ment of party purposes. 

Different members of the Company assembled then offered a 
number of Volunteers' Toasts and Sentiments from which the fol- 
lowing have been selected : 

By Dr. M. Johnson The Single Star of Texas: It is small but 
bright, and may it one day be the sun around which the Spanish 
Provinces will revolve. 

By E. Waller The Hon. Louis P. Cook: In the Legislature he 
always defended the rights of the people watchfully and with elo- 
quence, at the head of the Navy Department, his course has been 
distinguished by energy, impartiality, modesty and talent; may he 
find his country grateful. 

By Mr. Bontreat The Lone Star: Now on its ascent, may it 
soon reach the zenith and there shine the brightest in the firma- 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 239 

By M. H. Nicholson Col. E. Burleson The North-western 
Champion of Texas: He has stood like a dyke on our frontier 
nobly repelling the tide of savage depredation. 

By Dr. Johnson The President and his Cabinets: We can 
have no greater evidence of the wisdom and honesty of our Chief 
Magistrate than the selection of his Cabinets. 

By Maj. W. J. Jones The Star of Texas Like the Star of 
Bethlehem, it will guide the wise men of all nations to the cradle 
of Liberty. 

By John Jarmon To the Heroes of Texas: Honour to those 
noble spirits, who fought, bled and suffered for the cause of free- 
dom in the revolution of Texas. 

By E. Waller Hon. James Webb: His adopted countrymen are 
proud of him. He has filled and still fills a high office with abil- 
ities, dignity and rectitude. May he one day be called to the high- 
est office. 

By J. Jarmon President Lamar: As chief servant of the peo- 
ple, he has thus far discharged his duties with honor to himself and 
justice to the whole Eepublic. His name shall be handed down as 
one of the great western stars. 

By J. McLeod Our Treasurer, Maj. A. Brigham: An honest 
man is the noblest work of God. 

By G. W. Bonnell The People of Texas: They know their 
rights, and knowing, dare maintain them. 

By G. W. Moore Our Infant Republic: She will soon be 
recognized and well known throughout the world. 

By a Citizen Judge E. Waller: He has wisely improved the 
talent entrusted to him, may he one day be entrusted by the people 
with the greatest in their gift. 

By Charles Schoolfield The City of Austin: The Commission- 
ers who were appointed by Congress to select a site for the seat of 
government: justice to their selection and honor to their judgment. 

By T. G. Forster The President of Texas: Our skillful ME- 
CHANIC. may we never have a worse CABINET-MAKER. 

By a Citizen The Press of Texas: May it ever continue ele- 
vated in its moral tone pure and disinterested in its patriotism 
the unwavering advocate of the true interests of the country, with- 
out regard to party. 

By a Citizen Education the safeguard of our republican in- 
stitutions: It deserves to be fostered and promoted, by every 
friend of liberty. 

By a Citizen Female Education the only security for the per- 
manence of female charms: May all the true friends of the fair 
sex be ever found zealous in its promotion. 

By M. H. Beaty E. Moore, Commander of the Texian Navy 
'Texas expects him to do his duty." 

240 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

By Dr. S. Booker Wm. G. Cook: His services will be remem- 
bered as long as Texas shall appreciate chivalry and patriotism. 

By T. G. Forster Maj. Wm. J. Jones: Brave among the brav- 
est, wise among the wisest, and a man among men. 

By a Citizen Sam Houston and San Jacinto They will be re- 
membered as long as Texas possesses a single freeman. 

By a Citizen General A. Sidney Johnston: A scholar, a sol- 
dier, and a gentleman ; the highest qualities a man can possess. 

His Excellency rose from the table about 8 p. m., and the com- 
pany, soon after, dispersed; all, apparently, highly pleased with 
the entertainment of the day. 

(3) The Site Confirmed by the Fourth Congress. 

A feeble and unsuccessful effort was made to involve the new 
seat of government in the September elections. 1 It was also pre- 
dicted that congress would not hold its session at this place. For 
instance, the Morning Star of June 20, 1839, said : 

Not one of the most sanguine friends of the 'new location has ever 
expressed, in our hearing, his belief that the next congress would 
hold its session there. The prevailing opinion is, that the mem- 
bers will assemble there and adjourn to this place. 

If the thought of adjourning to Houston was entertained by any 
of the members of congress, their plans were completely frustrated 
by the breaking out of yellow fever in that city some time prior 
to the assembling of congress. 2 

The fourth congress assembled at Austin on the second Monday 
in November; a quorum was had in both houses on the first day. 
On assuming the chair in the senate, Vice-President Burnet said: 

I cannot on this interesting occasion omit congratulating you on 
the new scenes which surround us. 

The selection of an appropriate site for the permanent location 
of the Govt has long been a subject of general concernment, in- 
volving deep and various solicitudes throughout the community. 
To those who consulted only the common good, it was replete with 
interest and anxiety, because of the inherent difficulty of choosing 
among so great a multitude of seemingly eligible positions as our 
country affords. That the selection of this beautiful and pictur- 

l Morning Star, April 15 and August 1, 1839. 

^Colorado Gazette, November 9, 1839; Anson Jones, Republio of Texas, 
22; Statement of Francis Moore, Jr., in Weeks, Debates of the Texas Con- 
vention [1845], p. 208. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 241 

esque spot, fit residence of the fabled Hygeie, will quiet all appre- 
hensions, and satisfy all persons, is more than the most enthusiastic 
advocates can expect. That it will fulfill, in an eminent degree, the 
great purposes of its selection can scarcely be questioned; provided 
the government itself will exert the necessary means to render it, 
as it ought and may be easy of access to all sections of the Republic. 
Having no private interest to subserve, either by changing or con- 
tinuing the present location I feel a freedom in remarking, that 
frequent removals of the seat of government are not only costly, 
and otherwise injurious in our domestic concerns, but are apt to 
excite suspicions abroad of instability in the government 
itself. . . , l 

President Lamar also referred to the subject in his message, read 
next day, November 12th. After recounting the difficulties at- 
tending the removal, he said : 

I have great pleasure in meeting the Representatives of the peo- 
ple for the first time assembled at the permanent Seat of Govt. The 
act of the last Congress directing the removal of the Public Ar- 
chives from the City of Houston was an expression of legislative 
will too decisive to permit me one moment to falter in carrying it 
out. Arrangements were accordingly made immediately after the 
adjournment for the survey of the City of Austin and the erection 
of the necessary offices and public buildings, to be commenced so 
soon as the commissioners chosen to aelect the site should have 
made their report. The time allowed for the work was so exceed- 
ingly limited as to render its accomplishment apparently imprac- 
ticable; yet I am happy in having it in my power to announce to 
you, that the agent appointed to superintend the undertaking, did 
succeed, by extraordinary energy, in preparing such accommoda- 
tions as have enabled the officers of Govt. to resume their duties 
at the new city on the first of October as directed by law, with very 
little inconvenience to themselves, and no derangement of the pub- 
lic business beyond its temporary suspension. . . . 

I congratulate you, gentlemen, and the country in general, that 
a question which has so deeply excited our National Legislature 
has thus been put at rest; and sincerely hope that no similar sub- 
ject will arise in future to abstract your attention from the har- 
monious consideration of such matters of general & local policy as 
may be regarded essential to the prosperity of the nation. That the 
selection of the site now occupied will command universal appro- 
bation, is not to be expected. A diversity of opinion upon such sub- 
jects is the unavoidable result of the diversity of interests and local 

^Senate Journal, MS., November 11, 1839. State Department. 

242 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

prejudices which must necessarily exist in a country so widely ex- 
tended as ours; but its geographical position, the apparent health- 
fulness of its climate, the beauty of its scenery, the abundance and 
convenience of its material for constructing the most permanent 
edifices, its easy access to our maritime frontier, and its adaptation 
to protection against Indian depredation, thereby inviting settle- 
ments to one of the finest portions of our country, [afford] ample 
proofs of the judgment and fidelity of the commissioners, and 
abundant reason to approve their choice. That you and others will 
experience some privations which might have been spared if the 
location had been made in a section of the country of greater popu- 
lation and improvement is certainly true ; but I cannot believe that 
a people who have voluntarily exchanged the ease & luxuries of 
plentiful houses, for the toils & privations of a wilderness will re- 
pine at the sacrifice of a few personal comforts which the good of 
the nation may require of them. 1 

The opponents to the new site, however, were not to be placated 
with fair words ; they must have their say, and it took the form of 
the following bill, which was introduced in the house of representa- 
tives by Mr. Lawrence, of Harrisburg, 2 who had in the January 
preceding at Houston thoroughly identified himself with the op- 
position : 

A Bill to be entitled An Act for the temporary location of the 
Seat of Government. 

Whereas much clamor, and excitement prevails [throughout] the 
body politic, in relation to the location of the Seat of Government, 

Whereas believing it to be a duty encumbent upon us, as the 
Eepresentatives of the people, to consult their views and subserve 
their interests with a due regard to those principles of economy, 
which should ever characterize the Legislation of a free people, and 

Whereas being impressed with a solemn conviction of the evils 
which have arisen, and which must inevitably arise from the pres- 
ent unsettled state of this perplexing and all-absorbing question, 
for remedy whereof 

Section 1st Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the Eepublic of Texas in Congress assembled, That 
on the fourth Monday in May in the year of our Lord one thousand, 
eight hundred and forty, it shall be the duty of the qualified voters 

1 Lamar's Message, in Senate Journal, MS., State Department. 

2 House Journal as printed in the Austin City Gazette, January 1, 1840. 
The Journals of the Fourth Congress were never printed. The Senate 
Journal has been preserved in manuscript in the Department of State, but 
the Journal of the House of Representatives appears to have been lost. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 243 

for members of congress in the several counties of the Republic, 
to assemble at their respective places of holding elections for mem- 
bers of congress, for the purpose of temporarily locating the seat 
of Government, for the term of twenty five years, from and after 
the close of the first session of the fifth annual congress of this 
Eepublic when and where it shall be their duty to select by ballot, 
as between the City of Austin and the site at the great falls of the 
Brazos River, which was condemned by the commissioners elected 
by the third annual congress of this Republic for the location of the 
seat of government, to be known and voted for as the City of 

[Sections 2 and 3 provided for the manner of holding the elec- 
tion and publishing the result of the vote.] 

[Sections 4 to 13 are very nearly a verbatim copy of the act un- 
der whose provisions Austin had been selected. See pages 50 and 
51 above.] 1 

The bill was called up November 28, made the order of the day 
for December 2, and then debated for three days. 2 Sam Houston 
was a member of the house, and the journal notes the fact that he 
"strenuously advocated the bill." 3 General Houston's opponents, 
or rather the supporters of the city of Austin, stated that it was 
"his declared determination to effect the removal of the Seat of 
Government from Austin, even should it cause a division of the 
Republic." . . . His supporters took exception to this state- 
ment of his position, and declared that he used the following lan- 
guage : "If some respect is not paid to the east, if the present loca- 
tion of the Seat of Government is persisted in, it [will ca]*use 
much evil even a division of the Republic it should be 
[ . . . ] 4 forever set at rest it should be referred to the peo- 
ple, for them to decide at the ballot box." 5 

Mr. Muse, of Nacogdoches, spoke along similar lines; he said: 

He had heard something of the doctrine of nullification in the 
United States; and why the excitement produced there upon the 
subject? Because a portion of the States considered their rights 
trampled under foot by national legislation, though not by the in- 
triguery of a small minority, but an almost unanimous voice; yet 
. . . they rose in all their majesty of state pride, with a de- 
cile 1217, Papers of 4 Tex. Congress, MS., State Department. 
*House Journal, in Austin City Gazette, January 15 and 22, 1840. 
'Ibid., January 22, 1840. 
'Words torn off. 
"Austin City Gazette, April 8, 1840. 

244 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

termined resolution, stood forth so as to bring about a modification 
of their injuries. Suppose the injury complained of had affected 
two-thirds or three-fourths of the people of that nation, what must 
have been the consequences ? None will deny but that the national 
authorities would have been overturned. . . . Though South 
Carolina was but one State, she asserted her rights against the other 
twenty-three. Will not eastern and central Texas do the same, 
when they are composed of more than two-thirds of the population 
of Texas, all of whom are enraged at the outrage committed upon 
their rights, and upon the general interest of their adopted coun- 
try, to serve the interest of the few, and of a particular section? 
Will they quietly and calmly submit, or will they assert their 
rights? . . - 1 

The debate was finally terminated, when Mr. Menifee, one of the 
commissioners that located the seat of government, moved to strike 
out the enacting clause. This motion was carried by a vote of 21 
'to 16 ; 2 it was cast on strictly sectional lines. 

The handsome vote with which the bill for reopening the question 
of the location of the seat of government was disposed of, after the 
thorough discussion it had received, created the impression that the 
subject would now be permitted to rest. "It is to be hoped," writes 
Mr. Holmes, representative from Matagorda, "that this vexatious 
and exciting question will now be considered settled, and that it 
will not be revived or agitated for many years to come. Judging 
from the opinions expressed by the members from the East at the 
opening of congress, I am fully convinced that a large majority of 
the citizens of Eastern Texas are satisfied if not pleased with the 
present location, and that they will suffer the question to rest in 
peace." 3 This idea of permanency was reinforced by the passage 
of "An Act to authorize the erection of Government Buildings"; 
viz., a building intended for the use of the State Department and 
General Land Office which was to be of stone and as nearly fire- 
proof as possible. 4 A traveler writes at Austin on January 12, 
1840, "Should the seat of government remain permanently fixed 
in this place, which is now highly probable, this whole region must 

1 Austin City Gazette, April 8, 1840. 

'For the "Yeas" and "Nays," see Austin City Gazette, January 22, 1840. 
*E. L. Holmes to Editor of the Colorado Gazette, December 19, 1839, 
printed in the Colorado Gazette, January 11, 1840. 
*Act approved January 28, 1840. 

The Seat of Government of Texas. 245 

soon smile . . . with plenty/' 1 Anson Jones, senator from 
Brazoria, after congress adjourned, remained in Austin, married, 
built a house on Pecan -street, "and spent the summer principally 
in making improvements on [his] place." 2 

^Texas in 1840, or the Emigrant's Guide to the New Republic, 65; Ed- 
ward Stiff, The Texas Emigrant, 33. 
2 Aneon Jones 3 Republic of Texas, 22. 

246 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 




1. Introduction. 

It may seem superfluous to attempt a new discussion of the 
route of Cabeza de Vaca from Texas to Sonora; but to the writer 
there seems to be so much omitted from previous examinations 
which bears directly on the location of the route, that he has ven- 
tured to submit yet another study of the journey. 

It will be presumed that the reader is familiar with at least the 
narrative of Cabeza's wanderings as told by himself in what is 
usually called his Naufragios; but it will be probably better to out- 
line briefly here the more evident stages of the journey, for im- 
mediate reference. 

Besides the account written by Cabeza alone, after he had re- 
turned to Spain, he and his three companions (being, with the negro 
Steven, all that were left of the army of De Narvaez, which was 
stranded on the west coast of the Gulf of Mexico) wrote, while in 
the city of Mexico, a joint letter to the Royal Audiencia at Santo 
Domingo; and this letter has been incorporated by Oviedo in his 
Historia de las Indias, with a little additional comment. As Cabeza 
and Castillo went home in 1537, 1 they left this account at Santo 
Domingo; and that of Cabeza alone was not published till 1542. 
Besides these there is a relation of Cabeza's which Mr. Bandelier 
thinks is a mere condensation of the Naufragios, and of small im- 
port. This I have not examined. 

I can not agree with Bandelier in his low estimate of the 
accuracy of the joint letter in comparison with Cabeza's narrative; 
and I agree with Oviedo in believing that the testimony of three, 
fresh from the scenes, is better than that of one, recorded some 
years later, when, by his own confession, his memory fails him at 
certain points. The Naufragios is longer, and much more detailed 
generally, especially on incidents of topography and customs of the 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 247 

natives; but the letter brings out certain matters that are obscure 
in the Naufragios, and supplies many omissions. The joint study 
reveals the route in a fuller light, and it must be a matter of regret 
that when Mr. Bandelier presented the new translation of the one 
ill the "Trailmakers Series" he did not incorporate a translation of 
the other also. Since Oviedo knew Cabeza personally, and could 
inquire into the matter for himself, we must respect his opinion 
an opinion which I think an examination of the two accounts will 
sustain. There are some striking discrepancies that are interest- 
ing. That account which is the more detailed at certain points, 
however, should command our credence the more all things else 
being equal. In this paper all citations from Cabeza's single ac- 
count are to be referred to the Bandelier translation, because it is 
more accessible than that of Buckingham Smith, and in some re- 
spects better; and the reference will, for brevity, be made under 
the word "Cabeza." The reference to the joint letter will be made 
under the word "Oviedo" the original Spanish being found in that 
author's Historia General y Natural de las Indias" in Tomo III, at 
pages 582 to 618, of the usual edition found in our libraries. 

With the exception of a certain Ortiz whom De Soto found on the 
coast of Florida, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Andres Dorantes, 
Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and Estevanico, a Moor and servant 
of Dorantes, were all that finally survived from the army of Pamfilo 
de Narvaez, which entered Florida in 1527. Five barges of this 
expedition were wrecked on the Gulf coast of Texas in November 
of that year. Two of these, containing the Cabeza party were 
stranded on an island from which they began their remarkable 
journey by land ; and the other barges were lost further westward 
that of the governor having landed its men before being swept out 
to sea. From this island where Cabeza was, two different parties 
went on westward, by land only, before Cabeza made the attempt 
six years later, which time he spent in slavery and in wandering 
inland and along the coast in trading and exploring ventures. 
When he starts, he meets with the other three survivors mentioned, 
and after a year and a half of delay they all escape from their 
Indian masters, go a short way and spend the winter, and then 
pass far inland northward, and spend almost the whole of another 
winter before they reach, west of this, a great river, with perma- 

248 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

nent houses. Here they hear of the coast of the western ocean, to- 
ward which they go in search of food, and which they finally ap- 
proach in upper Sonora. The province of this paper is confined to 
a study of the part of the journey thus indicated, and the various 
stages of it will appear in the discussion. 

As the five harges built on the Florida coast, after the disastrous 
inland expedition and the loss of the ships, were meandering west, 
they passed a great river, which, without cavil, was the Mississippi ; 
and here they were blown out to sea so that for about eight days 
they were unable to approach land. Their course in the mean time 
was westward, however, and finally the two barges containing Ca- 
beza and his companions struck on an island, which Cabeza named 
Mal-Hado, i. e., Ill-Fate or Bad-Luck, only two leagues from the 
coast at most. He says that this island was five leagues long and 
a league wide, with a rocky seaward beach. 

We can form no idea of the speed of the barges in the storm, for 
there was much meandering. The narratives do not imply much 
speed or progress westward; so that in the eight or nine days of 
going we should not expect them to make the distance from the 
Delta to Galveston. When they were fresh on the coast of Florida 
they were seven days rowing about one hundred miles. Naturally, 
therefore, we should look for Mal-Hado on the coast of Louisiana ; 
and since Isle Dernier Last Island would seem both in size and 
position to fill the conditions, we should not pass it idly, especially 
if we confine our knowledge to Cabeza's account only. But when 
he says that he traded for more than fifty leagues inland from this 
island a statement which we shall see that we may readily believe 
we know that this distance would have brought him so near the 
Mississippi that he would not have omitted mention of so great a 

In the narrative of the Inca concerning the expedition of De 
Soto, it is stated that before the Spaniards reached the place where 
De Soto died they found houses with crosses on them, which were 
placed there, the narrator thinks, from the influence of Cabeza, by 
means of his religious instruction having passed from one tribe to 
another. Zarate-Salmeron notes the same thing, perhaps from the 
Inca's account, but he adds that it occurred thirty leagues northerly 

A Study of the Route cf Cabeza De Vaca. 249 

from the mouth of the river at which De Soto died. 1 Cabeza notes 
that he traded in red ochre, bringing it from the inland to the coast 
tribes. Dr. Herbert E. Bolton, of the University of Texas, writes 
me that there was a supply of this paint in the neighborhood of 
the present town of Nagodoches, Texas, to which the Indians from 
great distances formerly resorted. It was doubtless to this, or to 
tribes near it, that Cabeza went trading; and east of this, not a 
hundred miles, the crosses were found by the men of De Soto. 2 
The point is almost directly north of Galveston, and nearly within 
the reach of the "more than fifty leagues" for which distance in- 
land Cabeza gives the customs of the tribes in a manner implying 
personal knowledge. It is considerably farther than this from Isle 

While there is now on this coast no island which fits the size of 
Mal-Hado as given by Cabeza, there are features of topography 
mentioned by Oviedo as being near it which cut Isle Dernier out; 
and in spite of its present size being doubly too great, these bring 
Galveston Island into consideration. We can not say now what the 
terrible storms of this coast may have done in nearly three cen- 
turies, when we know what they have done in a day; and this island 
may be larger now than it then was : but it is not likely that it has 
changed its relative position to certain rivers, which Oviedo notes 
in their order westward from Mal-Hado,, and which can be found in 
such order on the real coast of the Gulf at no other place than west 
of Galveston Island, as has been admirably set forth by Brownie 
Ponton and Bates H. McFarland in THE QUARTERLY for January, 

Westward, toward Panuco on the Gulf coast of Mexico, was an 
ancon, or inlet, which, Oviedo says, Dorantes passed three times in 
wandering forward in search of food, making progress along the 
coast proper forty leagues. From certain signs he believed that 
this was "that which they called Espiritu Sancto." "He twice re- 

1 Theodore Irving has erred in interpreting the Inca, as having these 
crosses found far westward on Moscoso's expedition into Texas. The Inca 
does not say so, and Miss Grace King has been led astray by Irving. I, 
however, have not seen the Spanish original, only the translation into 
French by Richelet. 

2 There is no longer any doubt that De Soto died at the mouth of Red 
River, not the Arkansas. Proof of this ie involved in this paper, fur- 
ther on. 

250 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

turned those forty leagues/' and beyond this ancon, on his final 
journey, he went onward twelve leagues, to another ancon. We 
shall see that this comports with later statements. Finally when 
Dorantes and his party determined later to leave the island perma- 
nently, there were two men, an Asturian clergyman and a negro, on 
an island behind, or westward from Mal-Hado, and Cabeza de Vaca 
was on the main land too sick to go. Pelican Island, now seen 
west of Galveston Island, may answer for this second isle. 

Without trying to disentangle the mass of incidents given by 
Oviedo here, it is sufficient that he says that the Indians brought 
those two back to Mal-Hado across the ancon ugain, in a canoe, and 
took the whole party of about twelve there is some discrepancy 
over another ancon "for certain things which they gave them" ; and 
"from there" they went two leagues to a great river, etc. Cabeza 
says that this party came by the place where he was sick, and that 
the twelve gave an Indian a costly robe of marten, which they had 
taken from a cacique in Florida, to guide them to him. If at the 
end of their journey with the Indians they were at Cabeza's place 
on the "mainland," or if the Indians put them well beyond Oyster 
Bay, as may have been likely (in order that they might not have to 
go around the northern arm of it), we can see how they might 
"from there" reach Oyster Creek in two leagues. Otherwise it is 

2. The Wandering from Mal-Hado to the Land of Tunas. 

(1) Summary of the Oviedo narrative. Oviedo's account of 
their further journey comports so well with the 'topography of the 
region that the identification is almost irresistible : 

*And from there they went two leagues to a great river, which 
was beginning to swell from floods and rains, and there they made 
rafts on which they crossed with much difficulty, because they had 
among them few swimmers ; and thence they went three leagues to 
another river which came with much power and volume, and with 
such fury that fresh water went out with great moment into the 
sea. There, likewise, they made some rafts and crossed on them; 
and the first passed over well, because they were helped, but the 
second carried them to the sea, * * * and two men were 

*0viedo, 593, et seq. 

A Study of the Route of Cdbeza De Vaca. 251 

drowned, * * * and the raft went out with the current to the 
sea more than a league * * * [though] the wind was from 
the sea to the land. * * * From there they went forward three 
or four leagues and struck another river and there they found a 
barge of their own five, which they knew to be that in which had 
gone the book-keeper Alonso Enriquez and the commissary. * * * 
And they went five or six leagues further to another great river 
on which were two ranchos of Indians who fled; * * * and 
from the other side [parte] of the river Indians came to the Chris- 
tians and knew them [as such] because in that neighborhood they 
had already seen those of the barge of the governor [De Narvaez] 
and of the barge of Alonso Enriquez. 1 

* * * The day following they left there and on the fourth 
day, reached an ancon, two men having died on the way of hunger 
and fatigue * * * leaving only nine persons. That ancon 
was broad, about a league across, and made a point toward the 
region of Panuco, which went out into the sea about a fourth of a 
league with some great mounds of white sand, which it might be 
supposed should be seen from far out at sea, and because of this 
they suspected that it was the River of the Holy Spirit [Rio del 
Espiritu Santo.] 2 * * * Finally they found a broken canoe 
* * * and in two days which they were there they passed the 
ancon; * * * an( j they reached with much difficulty, [from 
weakness] a little [pequeno] ancon, which was twelve leagues fur- 
ther on * * * [which] had little width which was only a 
river in breadth ; and there they rested the day which they arrived. 

Here, the next day, an Indian brought Figueroa with him to 
see them. He was one of the swimmers who had been sent forward 
from Mal-Hado, at the time of the wreck, to seek the way the only 
one left; and he said that he had seen Esquivel, the only survivor 
from the barge of the governor. Esquivel said the people had 
landed from the barge, and had gone along the coast, because the 
barge was very light, and the governor had helped them over some 
ancones or rivers ; and at the Espiritu Sanctu ancon, he had passed 
them over to the other side; but remaining himself in the barge 

ir This hints that Dorantes in his search for food for forty leagues for- 
ward had not gone near these Indians, but they were so nomadic that 
they may not have been there then. 

They were judging from Pineda's description of the river which he dis- 
covered as he sailed east from Mexico, and they judged, it seems, solely 
by the sand hills which they say. This anc6n must have impressed them 
as a rlo where the main bay emptied into the sea, and they must have con- 
sidered only a small part of it, in order that its peninsula should seem 
to them only a fourth of a league, or half mile, long. 

252 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

that night was swept out to sea, as nothing more was known of 
him. He furthermore said that all the governor's people had gone 
inland through certain lakes and submerged places and had died of 
hunger during the winter. Figueroa was now forced to go back west^ 
ward with his Indian master, and only the Asturian clergyman and 
another could go with him, because none of the rest could swim. 
These went after fish, and one returned; but the Indians on the 
other shore loaded their houses in their canoes, and left, taking the 
other two Christians with them. The Christian who came back 
was the swimmer who had accompanied the Asturian. Later other 
Indians made a canoe and took the remaining white men to their 
houses, and then carried them further still ; and they went in such 
a way that they expected never to see the other two whom the In- 
dians had taken. 

This outline of these details is given that we may see if from the 
descriptions we can form an idea of the location of this region be- 
yond the narrow ancon, and to enable us to form a proper defini- 
tion of the word. 

a Later those Indians sent five of the white men to other Indians, 
who they said were s on another ancon six leagues onward. Three 
went to the new ancon, among whom was Castillo; and two went 
down more coastward and died of hunger; and Andres Dorantes, 
his cousin Diego Dorantes, and the negro remained in the rancho of 
those who had first taken them slaves. Still later the Indians sent 
these three also forward, and they found the dead bodies of some 
of those five sent before. From there [the most westward ancon 
six leagues from the narrow one] they went on and encountered 
other Indians; and there Andres Dorantes saw one of the three 
(who did not go by the coast and who had gone further forward), 
and he said that the two swimmers had passed through there, naked, 
and swearing that they would not stop till they had reached a land 
of Christians; and Oviedo states that this one, who was Valdivieso, 
said that he saw 'the clothes, breviary, etc., of the Asturian there 
(beyond the narrow ancon) and he found that two days from there 
they had killed him, and a little beyond still they had killed an- 
other, Diego de Huelva, "because he passed from one house to an- 

J See Oviedo, 598, et seq. 

A. Study of the Route of Cdbeza De Vaca. 253 

other/' a phrase used by Cabeza also in this connection. 1 There 
the Dorantes party were enslaved again. 

Further details will now be given, that we may try to determine 
how far west this last bay was, and thus fix sundry points on the 
route along here, if possible. 

It is stated by Oviedo that this people ate fish only, and thus had 
much less hunger than those inland; and he adds that they were 
scarce of drinking water, because they wandered among overflows 
and salt water, and that which they had to drink was scant and far 
off. They were a very coastward people, evidently. Here, Andres 
Dorantes said, they remained fourteen months in the years 1529 
and 1530 and he was able to do nothing in the way of escape, be- 
cause he was surrounded by water, filled with little islands, (for he 
was on a large island, plainly) ; but he finally passed "a great water" 
(the bay landward), and next day reached some Indians. Three 
months later the negro followed and found him. After ten months, 
Dorantes went on to other Indians more than twenty leagues fur- 
ther back, where was a river near the ancon Espiritu Sancto, and 
there lived those Indians who had killed Esquivel. Here also Diego 
Dorantes had been slain. They killed mice which were abundant 
along between those rivers; but everything was scarce, because in 
winter they all went by or along that river from above to below 
and the reverse, seeking food. They took but little fish in 
that river except in April, when it overflowed. 

There were on the banks [en las costas] of that river many nuts, 
which the Indians ate in their season, coming from twenty or thirty 
leagues round about. These nuts were much smaller than those of 
Spain. 2 Oviedo continues that at the end of May the Indians began 
to go to eat tunas, which fruit was very abundant in that country ; 
and they went more than forty leagues forward toward Panuco to 
eat them, where the tunas were in astonishing abundance. These 
were the great food of the year, and they lasted one and a half or 
'two months. He says also that as the Indians go along the coast 
to eat tunas, they kill many deer 3 by driving 'them into the sea, 
and they leave the salt water and go inland, "eating their 

^Cabeza, 77. 

2 Cabeza says these nuts "are of the size of those of Galicia, and the 
trees are very big and numerous." Cabeza, 79. 

"These were evidently the antelope of the plains, as may be seen from 
the La Salle narrations. 

254 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

tunas," which "last for fifty or sixty days" from their ripening 
in August. This is inconsistent with the former statement about 
going to eat them in May, and perhaps has reference to another 
kind, since Cabeza notes at least three varieties. We shall see later 
that Oviedo gets matters mixed along here especially dates. 
The narrative here appears to be that of Andres Dor- 
antes, and he seems to have gone back to this land of tunas west- 
ward; for he says, that there he, Castillo, and the negro agreed to 
escape some time before Cabeza came, but were separated in such a 
way that they could not plot further, and each went with his In- 
dians to eat nuts, and there Cabeza joined them. Oviedo confirms 
Cabeza in saying that it was nearly two years yet before they could 
even agree to escape, and finally, after Cabeza came, they plotted 
to meet at a point where they were accustomed to eat tunas. From 
there they went inland to a place where they had been before, but to 
which their Indians had not gone this year, because there were no 
tunas there then, as they in some way seemed to know. 

It was here that Dorantes, arriving first, met some Indians who 
also had just reached this place that day. The other Spaniards 
arrived later, and Castillo was already near there; and it was from 
tbis inland rather deserted region that the start was made that 
year, according to Oviedo. Cabeza notes the flight as starting from 
the land of tunas generally. They found it necessary, however, 
in order to obtain skins for clothing, which they were told they 
could not find further on, to remain in this region till the next 
year. Oviedo says it was in October [por Otubre'] when they first 
left their Indian masters. 

(2} Digest of Cabeza's narrative. For the sake of comparison, 
a short review of the Cabeza narrative relative 'to those same events 
may be necessary : 

1 After remaining in the neighborhood of the Island for about six 
years Cabeza says that he finally persuaded his sole surviving com- 
panion to go forward ; that since the latter could not swim, he car- 
ried this friend "across the inlets and four rivers on the coast." 
Thence he went to "an inlet [ancon~\ one league wide, very deep 
everywhere," and this he states seemed to him to be that of the 
Holy Ghost (Espiritu Sancto). The name of the Indians on the 

l Cabeza, 76, et seg. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 255 

west shore of this inlet was Guevenes, or Quevenes, as he has it else- 
where. These natives said that there were further on three men 
like him, and that the Indians still further beyond had killed Diego 
Dorantes, Valdivieso, and Huelva, "because they had gone from one 
house to another"; that "their neighbors," with whom was now 
Captain [Andres] Dorantes, had killed Esquivel, on account of some 
dream, etc. Cabeza inquired about the country further on, and 
thus showed that in his forty or fifty leagues of trading along the 
coast 1 he had not gone beyond this ancon a fact that places it, 
according to this account also about that far westward from Mal- 
Hado; since Cabeza says that in his coasting he was thus search- 
ing for a way to escape by. 

Cabeza says 2 that Dorantes fled from the region where 
his fellows were slain (by the Guaycones, as we shall see 
later according to Cabeza's tribal arrangement), and went to the 
Mariames, who, he adds, had slain Esquivel, and who were the next 
tribe from those who had come to meet Cabeza and some Indians 
from further east, at the great inlet. This journey of Dorantes 
was that first flight backward which he went, according to Oviedo 
the one on which he crossed the "great water." Cabeza has no 
special mention of the later and long journey of 'twenty leagues, 
except that part of it which refers to the coming of Dorantes to the 
river of nuts. 3 This distinctly showr, however, that Dorantes fled 
across the "great water" on an eastward, not a westward, journey. 
After Dorantes' second flight from the Mariames, Cabeza says that 
"Castillo and Estevanico went inland to the Iguaces"* who, he 
says in another place, were neighbors of the Mariames. There is 
confusion here, for Oviedo says that those who killed Esquivel 
(Mariames, says Cabeza) lived on the river of nuts, a statement 
which we have reasons to accept, according to Cabeza's arrange- 
ment of tribes. They extended from about the mouth of the Guad- 
alupe Eiver to the true coast at the west end of Ma'tagorda Island. 

Cabeza notes that the Spaniards went to eat tunas with the In- 
dians only thirty leagues away from this general nut region, 5 but 

1 Cabeza, 74. 
*nid., 87. 
*IUd., 79. 
*n>id., 89. 
*rbid., 95. 

256 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

he shows by incidents mentioned that this was the same journey 
around the coast which they made finally, and, from the end of 
which they went inland to escape and met the Avavares. Cabeza 
notes no inland going, for the start; and he has different details 
of assembling the group from those of Oviedo ; but both agree that 
it was only one day inland from the tuna region till they met 
these first Indians with whom they spent the winter. These 
Cabeza names Avavares, or, in his summary of the tribes, 1 
Chauauares [or Chavavares] ; and he mentions much wandering 
and suffering with them, before they settle down, or reach their 
winter quarters, details omitted by Oviedo. 

(3) Discussion of the islands, rivers, and ancones. We are 
now prepared to discuss, and, if possible, locate the va- 
rious topographical features mentioned by the narratives, and 
thereby approximate the route of the two parties, in this region. 

Some reasons have been given why Galveston Island is taken for 
the Mal-Hado of Cabeza. As noted, the first river west of it is more 
than the required leagues given by Oviedo; but we may justly be- 
lieve that the Indians, in setting the Spaniards across the water, 
which was directly on their way for pay would have been re- 
quired to land them beyond the northern extension of Oyster Bay; 
and thus landed the Spaniards would find it only about two leagues 
to Oyster Eiver. This would not ordinarily be called a large river, 
but it was now at high flood, and answered that description. 

The second river was the one with the furious current that car- 
ried the rafts immediately to the sea; and the Brazos will certainly 
answer to this. It is about three leagues from Oyster Eiver, and 
the only powerful stream entering the sea directly on this coast. 

The next was three or four leagues from the second a condition 
filled by San Bernard River, where they found the deserted barge 
of Enriquez; and at "other five or six leagues" they found the 
fourth river, which was "great" [grande~], and had two settlements 
of Indians on it. Caney River is about the first of these distances 
from the last stream, but it does not seem so "great," unless again 
we recall that it was flood time when Dorantes passed. Cabeza says 
that all four of the rivers were called "great" by Dorantes, when the 
latter told him of their journey; but Cabeza himself simply says 

, 124. 

A. Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 257 

"four rivers on the coast," when telling of his own trip past them. 
Naturally here the word "great" suggests the Colorado for this 
fourth stream; but it is too far from the third, and does not dis- 
embogue on the true coast. Oviedo shows by what the Indians said 
that the men of the governor's barge, and those from that of Enri- 
quez, were walking along the coast, while the governor and a few 
others rowed or sailed along and near the shore ; and the barge set 
those walking over the rivers and inlets. The Colorado with its broad 
mouth would be one over which they would most need the aid of the 
barge; but it is not at all probable that the governor went twenty 
miles on to Pass Cavallo, and twenty back, to set them over. The 
Dorantes party was now passing the same crossing as that passed 
by the men of the governor, according to the Indians, who had seen 
the latter; so it is almost demonstrated that none of these three 
parties went around the east point of Matagorda Bay, and passed 
inland, or crossed the Colorado or even went along the northern 
edge of the narrow peninsula. There seems to be no evidence in 
the narratives that any of these Spaniards ever saw the Colorado, 
unless it was Cabeza when he made those early trading and explor- 
ing trips forty or fifty leagues west of Mal-Hado. He doubtless 
knew too much to try to reach Panuco in that way. 1 Dorantes said 
that he had crossed the ancon several times before this on his pre- 
liminary trips, as he "went through the length of the coast forty 
leagues forward." 2 Probably all these parties went down the south- 
ern margin of Matagorda Peninsula, in which case Caney Eiver 
would be the fourth river Cabeza and Dorantes speak of crossing. 

Four days from here, says Oviedo, they came to an ancon, or inlet, 
which lay so that it formed a point half a mile long toward Panuco. 
Four days, as they travelled, fatigued and searching the sea coves 
for crawfish and "rockweed," whatever that was, would not exceed 
the distance from Caney River to Pass Cavallo, which is certainly 
the next ancon. So far, I have left this word in the original pur- 
posely, to show its more specific meaning in these narratives as 

l lt is plain that none of these especially the Dorantes party ever 
knew the extent of the Matagorda Peninsula, else they would never have 
described the bay as making a point seaward only half a mile long. For 
this reason they knew nothing of its northern edge nor of the mouth of 
the Colorado. 

2 0viedo, 592. 

258 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

referring in nearly every case to a narrow strip of water, which 
was either the inlet from the sea to an expanded bay, or a straft 
between two islands or an island and the mainland. This is espe- 
cially so with Oviedo, who uses the word most. The first port on 
the Florida coast proper was "una bahia que era baxa" another 
word for an expanded sheet. A day further the governor goes by 
land, and at night comes to "una bahia que entra por la tierra" a 
bay that goes inland. 1 Undeniably these are Charlotte Harbor and 
Tampa Bay the only such on this coast; and it may be seen that 
the ancon idea is not in them, and the word, therefore, is not used 
about them. Later on he speaks of swampy arms of the sea as 
"baxas" (bajas), and notes"lagunas" in the same region. He has a 
word for inundated places (anegados or anegadicos) and another 
(paludes) for permanent swamps. When the barges started along 
the Florida coast Oviedo says they went seven days through those 
"baxas" and entered many "ancones," which last "they struck 
along that coast," and the (< baxas' went inland. One needs only 
to examine the bays from that of Santa Rosa to that of Mobile to 
get a clear conception of what Oviedo means by these words. For 
any indefinite expansion, of which he seems to know not the name, 
he uses the phrase, "una agua grande," 2 (a great water). Know- 
ing, therefore, what the narrators mean, we have no difficulty in 
seeing that the route lay wholly along the coast of the gulf proper, 
and was not inland around some broad bay, as has been maintained. 
Like the rivers, the ancones are there now in proper sequence, and 
they enable us to form very definite ideas of the end of this stage 
of the great journey. The first, which Cabeza calls the "great," 
was Pass Cavallo ; and the crossing of the Dorantes party was evi- 
dently to Matagorda Island not to the mainland. Thence Oviedo 
says they went twelve leagues (30 miles) to the little one, narrow 
as a river. This was surely Cedar Creek, which is the proper dis- 
tance from Pass Cavallo, and, according to Cabeza, about that from 
Mal-Hado; for he says that when the Dorantes party had reached 
this place, they had lost two men in going sixty leagues, though, 
from Oviedo, we should infer this to be only about fifty leagues 
twelve and forty which comports with the actual distance. The 

I 0viedo, 584. 
"Ibid., 599. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 259 

Indians told the Dorantes party that six leagues further on there 
was another ancon, to which statement Aransas Pass answers with 
sufficient accuracy. 

(4) The River of Nuts. There is mentioned in both 
narratives a river, as if it were situated quite near the 
first great ancon. Cabeza certainly implies that he crosoed 
this "great" inlet to the mainland not to Matagorda 
Island where he finds Indians, who hrd come to meet those 
who were vrith him. He says that he remained with these the 
Guevenes while his companion returned across the inlet. He says 
that after these Indians had given him much information, (and 
after he had evidently been with them sometime) they told him that 
in two days the Dorantes party "would come to a place about a 
league from there on the shore of that river to feed on nuts." 1 
Oviedo says that Dorantes went (back east) to the river of nuts near 
the Espiritu Sancto ancon. Let us recall that while he was west 
of this, he had crossed from the marginal islands and was now in- 
land, having passed a great water; and, since it may be seen that 
the Espiritu Sancto is the same in both narratives, we may be sure 
that the Colorado can not be this river of nuts. It is too far east. 
As, according to Oviedo, it was a river of length and importance 
to the tribes, the choice is left between the Lavaca and the Guada- 
lupe. We shall see later that the relative positions of the tribes and 
the distance over which Dorantes returned to this river the twenty 
leagues favor the latter. 

With regard to Cabeza's statement that the Indians mentioned 
that this river was "a league from there," i. e., from some point on 
the mainland, we may see that he was not necessarily at the great 
ancon at the time of this estimate. He was with the tribe that lived 
west of it, and they had come to meet the Deaguenes at the ancon. 
The inference is that their abiding place was then at a distance 
from the ancon doubtless on the river of nuts. Again, it must be 
noted that his "there" (from which the river was only a league) 
was on the edge of another tribe, since the Indian who told him 
of the coming of the Dorantes party, and offered to lead him to 
them, spoke a different language from that of Cabeza's Indians. 2 

, 78. 
'Ibid., 80. 

260 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

As this savage was going to visit those with whom Dorantes was, 
he was likely one of that tribe the Mariames, the same with whom 
Dorantes was now, since they were the same that killed Esquivel, 
as we have already seen. These Mariames were the second tribe 
beyond the ancon, according to Cabeza, and hence here is evidence, 
inasmuch as they came from the west with Dorantes to the river 
of nuts, that this river was west of the great ancon at least the 
width of a tribe if not further. Nothing but the Guadalupe will 
satisfy these conditions. 

Considering the one day journey cf Dorantes across the "great 
water," and the twenty leagues further back to the river of nuts, 
which he went, and keeping in view also Cabeza's location of the 
tribes, we shall see that a more eastern position for this river is not 
indicated, unless Dorantes did not get so far west as Oviedo attests 
by the itinerary and Cabeza implies by the situation of the tribes. 
To review Dorantes's limits: We might infer from the combina- 
tion of the two accounts, that Dorantes met Figueroa three leagues 
beyond the narrow ancon our Cedar Creek; for Oviedo says that 
it was twelve leagues to this pass, and Cabeza says that they met 
"another of our parties" (who was Figueroa, of course), when they 
had gone fifteen leagues from the first ancon. But this twelve and 
fifteen are two different estimates of the distance between the 
ancones, made by the two narratives, since Figueroa and his Indian 
came over water to where the other "nine" were, and he came from 
the other side [parte] of an ancon, so narrow that the white men 
could see and call to the Indian there. The only two swimmers of 
the party went back with him. This starts Figueroa and these 
swimmers on St. Joseph's island. Turning to Cabeza, 1 we note 
that he makes Figueroa say that some time before that, while with 
these same Indians here, he learned from them that with the Mari- 
ames there was a Christian who had come on with the Guevenes; 
and he adds that with these, this stranger came on over to the other, 
or western, side of the narrow ancon and met him (Figueroa) 
there. This was the Esquivel already noted one of the commis- 
sary's men, who was still struggling on west, from the great ancon, 
where the governor was lost, and where lived these Guevenes. 
Naturally the inference is that Figueroa was then with the tribe 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 261 

west of the Mariames. These were the Guaycones, according to 
Cabeza's enumeration of the tribes, 1 and they were on the coast, 2 and, 
it would now seem, occupied at least the east end of St. Joseph's 
Island, which was just acrocw the narrow ancon. The second day 
after Figueroa went back two Indians, whom the whites still could 
call to on the other side of the narrow ancon, took the remaining 
Christians over the ancon in a canoe to their houses, since they were 
from a rancho near by. Two days later, still those of this rancho 
moved, and, taking these Spaniards with them, they must have 
gone some distance, along this island, since it was done "in a man- 
ner that they were never more able to see the other two Christian.-; 
which those Indians had taken/ 3 

But these Christians were such a burden to keep that those "In- 
dians sent five of them on to another ancon, which they said was 
forward six leagues. 4 This was doubtless Aransas Pass. So far, 
the location of all is clear, with the presumption that the two swim- 
mers were on ahead along the edge of the bay. Oviedo states that 
Castillo, Valdivieso, and Huelva stayed at this last ancon "much 
time," and the other two of the five went "further down to the 
coast," which means on the southeastern edge of the island. 

Oviedo recapitulates here, seeming to give the detailed narrative 
of Dorantes about the death of the others, how the latter subse- 
quently had met Valdivieso who was from the other bank or shore 
[parte], and who there at the furthest ancon, had heard of the 
passing onward of the swimmers, and of their death further on. 

There is no evidence that Dorantes himself ever left the island 
of St. Joseph on any forward journey, and here he became enslaved ; 
here the people had fish and fared better than those inland; here 
they went about through salt swamps, destitute of good water; here 
he, Castillo, and the negro pulled the canoes of the Indians about 
in the great heat through those "anegados" or shallow swales on 
the margin of the island. It was these westward neighbors of the 

l Cabeza, 124. 

2 There is much evidence from Cabeza that the territory of the Mariames 
extended to the coast proper, though he says they were in front of and 
further inland from the Guevenes. Doubtless their inland village was, but 
they are mentioned as being at the narrow ancon or Cedar Creek on the 
true coast. 

S 0viedo, 395. 

262 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Mariames who did all this killing, and were the Guay cones still, 
according to Cabeza; and here, among small islands, entirely "sur- 
rounded by water," as Dorantes said, they remained fourteen 
months, slaves. From the west end of this island it may be seen, 
therefore, Dorantes crossed the "great water," and fled as far as he 
could, which would be naturally inland for a while, having thus 
crossed Aransas Bay east of Harbor Island, then going around C6- 
pano Bay, he doubtless made a wide detour further inland to avoid 
the coast Indians, who had treated him badly, and who, Cabeza 
says, were so much more cruel and dangerous than those of the 
interior. In this way, twenty leagues, or fifty two miles, would 
not pass the Guadalupe River, but would stretch about the proper 
distance to reach it, where everything else comports so well. The 
Colorado is out of the question, and the Lavaca is eliminated by 
the inevitable position of the Mariames west of the tribe at the 
great ancon; for they were the people who killed Esquivel, at the 
river of nuts, so evidently the Guadalupe the nearest one to the 
great ancon in Dorantes's march back or Cabeza's march forward. 
(5) The point of escape. Cabeza evidently met these 
other Christians first among the Mariames, well inland, 
and he says that for a while he was in the same fam- 
ily with Dorantes. Later the latter fled from these (but to 
where is not said), while Castillo and the negro "went inland 
to the Iguaces." 1 There is no evidence that Cabeza changed tribes, 
before the trip to the tunas, or the final escape. Both Oviedo and 
Cabeza give the customs of the Mariames,. in great de- 
tail, and with much unanimity. From them to the very abundant 
tuna region, Oviedo says they went along the coast toward Panuco 
"more than forty leagues," while Cabeza says that after six months 
the "Indians went for tunas at a distance of thirty leagues from 
there." The two men may have counted from two different places 
in the tribe, or by different routes ; for they met in the tuna region 
and did not go there together ; or they may simply have differed in 
their estimates of the distance, or the extent of country ranged over 
in the tuna fields. Either of these distances will reach from the 

*It will be seen from this that the Iguaces were more inland than the 
Mariames, and yet touched the coast neighbors of the latter the Guay- 
cones. (See Cabeza, 89.) 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 263 

Guadalupe Kiver region considerably beyond Corpus Christi Bay, 
and place the abundant tunas in Nueces County. 

There is something, however, in the sequence of the tribes as 
given in his summary of them 1 and in his itinerary of the escaping 
journey and in his mention of their relative positions at other 
places, 2 which tends to the conviction that Cabeza's distance, meas- 
ured from the river of nuts region is the more approximate, and 
which tends to place the tuna region (and hence the tribe known as 
"those of the figs") just immediately beyond Corpus Christi Bay. 

(6) The Tribes. For ready reference let us place here Ca- 
btza's summary, and in connection with this and the itinerary fur- 
nish a map that shall show the situation of the tribes at least 
relatively, if not actually. Says Cabeza: 3 

"I also do wish to tell of the nations and languages met with 
from the Island of Ill-Fate [Mal-Hado] to the last ones, the Cu- 
chendados [never further mentioned or otherwise located]. On 
the Island of Ill-Fate two languages are spoken, the ones they called 
Capoques, the other Han. On the mainland, facing the island, are 
others called of Charruco, who take their name from the woods in 
which they live. Further on, along the seashore, are others, who 
call themselves Deguenes* and ; n front of them others named 
those of Mendica. Further on ? on the coast, are the Quevenes, 
[just beyond the great ancon, he says elsewhere], and in front, 
further inland the Mariames? and following the coast we come to 
the Guaycones 9 and in front of them inland the Yeguaccs. 1 After 
those come the Atayos, and behind them others, called Decubadaos, 
of whom there are a great many further on in that direction. On 
the coast live the Quitoles* and in front of them, inland, the Chau- 

*Cabeza, 123-124. 

2 7bt<f., 77, 79, 82, 83, 86, 87, 89, 96, 97, 99, IP, 112. 

'Pp. 123-124. 

*Elsewhere Cabeza refers to these as Deaguanes (p. 79), and speaks of 
"when I was with the Affuenes" (p. 120), evidently the same people. In 
the original of the 1555 print, the word above used is Doguenes. 

Must beyond the river of nuts. 

'Who, he says (p. 77) killed Valdivieso and several others of the Span- 
iards, which we have seen was on St. Joseph's Island. 

'Elsewhere referred to as being more inland and neighbors just west of 
or onward from, the Mariames. He calls them Iguaces, also. 

'Perhaps on the west end of St. Joseph's Island, or at least west of 
Aransas Bay. 


Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 265 

auares. 1 These are joined by the Maliacone& and the Cultal- 
chulches and others called Susolas and Comos. 3 Ahead on the coast 
are the Camolas, 4 and further on those whom we called the people 
of the figs. 

All these people have homes and villages and speak different 

In connection with the location of these "Fig people" are two 
interesting statements, one from Oviedo and the other from Cabeza. 
It will be recalled that Oviedo says 5 that Dorantes went westward 
to another ancon where some others had been sent by the Indians 
six leagues beyond the narrow ancon. Here he found Valdi- 
vieso, who was of the other parte, or shore. In all previous places 
in this connection this phrase "otra parte" is used for the "other 
shore" of an ancon. So it would seem as if Valdivieso had been on 
Mustang Island, which is likely, since "he told how the other two 
Christian swimmers had passed through there/' and he said to Do- 
rantes that he had seen their clothes and the breviary of the As- 

Then Valdivieso returns, and he and his companions are killed 
more westward, all on Mustang Island, since it was beyond the 
"otra parte" of the ancon which was six leagues west of the narrow 
one Aransas Pass. The Guaycones were, therefore, beyond thia 
last ancon, for it was they, Cabeza says, who did this killing. Ca- 
beza says 6 that during the winter which they spent with the Ava- 
vares these "told us they had seen the Asturian and Figueroa with 
other Indians on the coast, which we had named of the figs. Since, 
so far, this phrase, "on the coast," has always referred to the strictly 
seaward edge of the island stretches along the gulf proper, we may 
conclude that it refers to the same here ; and the two accounts are 
about the same incident. But Cabeza says also 7 that Valdivieso 
and Huelva were killed by the neighbors of the Mariames the 
Guaycones still. This pushes the Fig People well west, since there 

1 Elsewhere (p. 99) called the Avavares. 
^Northwestward, as we may see from the itinerary. 
"Quite likely the same called by Cabeza (p. 105) Coayos, since these are 
there placed in the same relationship. 
'Elsewhere (p. 97) called the Camones. 
5 P. 598. 
P. 110. 
T. 77. 

266 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

were two tribes between these and the Guay cones. The one just 
east was the Camones, or Camoles, who killed the men of the barge 
oi' Tellez. We may infer, therefore, that the stranding of this barge 
was off of, or at least onward as far as, the west end of Mustang 
Island, since Valdivieso, who had been over there, makes no men- 
tion of the event in his report, "from the other side," to Dorantes ; 
and Dorantes makes no note of having heard of it. As Cabeza, Do- 
rantes, Castillo, and Estevanico, while with the Anagados, who had 
Castillo at the time of the start to the Avavares from the tuna re- 
gion, saw the clothes of the men of Tellez, and heard that "the 
barge was still there stranded," the matter would seem to have been 
one of such importance that the savages would have spoken of it to 
Dorantes, had he got this far west. In like manner Valdivieso 
would have heard of it. Furthermore, since these Anagados must 
rTave been just off inland from the Camones the murderers and 
were near to the place where Cabeza and Dorantes were eating tunas 
then, it would 'seem that Cabeza and Dorantes never reached the Fig 
People just beyond, on this trip, and hence to escape, went inland, 
as Oviedo says they did from the region just east of Corpus Christi 
Bay. This very definitely locates the Anagados northwest of the 
inland tip of Corpus Christi Bay, and the final start, a year later, 
was from some point just slightly northwest of this, wherever was 
the village of the Avavares perhaps on the Aransas River, since 
the ranchos were usually on streams. But the Fig people were be- 
yond Corpus Christi Bay; and if the Spaniards ever got that far 
west, it was on some trip for tunas previous to the one at which 
they escaped. 

I 'submit, also, a copy of Buckingham Smith's map of the tribes 
in this connection. It will be seen that he makes the Aguenes and 
Deguenes Deaguenes in another place different tribes, and places 
the Mariames too far inland to be encountered by passing purely 
along the coast. 1 He places, if I understand his topography, the 
Fig people and the Avavares group around and off inland from 
Aransas Bay. He does not have the Guaycones and the Mariames 
neighbors, as the account demands, and he has the Iguaces less, 
rather than more, inland than the Mariames. Cabeza says they 

J He is led astray by Cabeza's statement that the Mariames were "further 
inland" from the Quevenes. We may. however, justly infer that at the 
time they met Figueroa and slew Esquivel they were on the coast. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 



268 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

were more. His whole scheme is influenced by a preconceived far 
inland route for Cabeza, which he subsequently modified. 

3. From the Land of the Tunas to the region of the Iron 

1. The time and the itinerary. The two accounts, 
when all things are considered, appear to agree as to 
the time of going to the Avavares. Cabeza, counting the 
months by moons solely, says he escaped from his Indians on the 
16th of September, or a little past the full moon, when the new 
moon was on. the first; and Oviedo says that the next day, as they 
approached the new Indians, it was already the time for the tunas 
to be gone, "porque era por otubre" because it was -through or 
during October, literally but we find later that he says that it 
was the first of the month ; for he says that they staid there among 
these Indians e( dende primero de otubre hasta el mes de agosto" 
"from the first of October to the month of August." Then they 
regarded the tunas sufficiently ripe for them to 'start. Not count- 
ing August, this makes ten months, "according to the reckoning 
of the moons," while Cabeza states that they remained with the 
Avavares eight months, and mentions no lingering with any other 
tribes near them, the excursion to the Susolas 1 seeming to take 
place in the meantime. 2 The "eighteen" months on page 111 of 
the Bandelier translation is a misprint, since the original has "ocho" 
(eight). Cabeza notes at least ten days of wandering in an in- 
definite direction with the Avavares, before they settle for winter. 
This was immediately before the side visit to the Susolas. All this 
is omitted by Oviedo. 

In August, according to Oviedo's specific statement, or in June, 
or the last of May, by inference from Cabeza's dates and periods, 8 
the party set out on its final journey. The mere "time of the tunas" 
does not help us here, as much as it would appear, for we find this 
"eating" referred to at all seasons, and it is at times, hard to de- 
termine whether they were eating fresh or dried fruit, ripe or 

Wabeza, 105-107. 

2 We shall see that Cabeza is the more nearly correct. 
'Later, we shall see that this was really about the first of July, Oviedo 
being evidently in error. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 269 

green, or merely the leaves. These latter Cabeza says they baked, 
and Oviedo says they buried them from one day to the other (to 
make them "less rough") and some were boiled, [cocidas~\. After 
they had been on the way thirteen days, Oviedo mentions green 
tunas that were beginning to ripen, and a day later, good ones. 1 

In about thirty-one days, according to Oviedo, they came 
to a large river, which both accounts compare with the 
Guadalquiver at Seville. The first day they went seven 
leagues, and this distance may be taken as a day's jour- 
ney, when nothing hinders them. On one other they went 
"eight or nine great leagues," another only five. On the 
second day out they stopped, and for eight days they tarried" to eat 
of a bitter, milky-juiced small fruit [granillos in Oviedo], noted 
by both. There were large forests of the bearing trees. At another 
place they rested fifteen days, which, deducting time lost in other 
ways, would leave only about eight of actual travel. Cabeza 
notes 2 that they got lost one day, at the end of which they stayed in 
the woods, and they must have spent much of the next finding the 
trail again. Oviedo also speaks of their being lost once. 

Cabeza is not so definite in this itinerary, but he has only five 
days of actual travel. He places the region of mesquite east of the 
large river, and has at least one day spent in a feast there. Oviedo 
has it that "before sunset" they came to the river, and as it grew 
dark they came to one hundred ranches beyond. From this, the 
next morning, they went a league and a half to another pueblo 
where the Indians gave them mesquite meal. 

However this may be, there is evidence that so far more than 
six days were spent in travel, which would roundly amount to forty 
leagues, or about 100 miles to the river a distance which would 
reach from the center of the Avavares, in central San Patrick) 
County, to the Frio River in central Frio County, north of the 
junction with the Lena fork. 

As to the character of this stream, Cabeza says : 3 "It may have 
been as wide as the one of Sevilla, and had a swift current." 
Oviedo notes 4 that it -seemed to them to be wider than the Guadal- 

'After the full discussion of the route, this topic will be taken up anew 
in detail. 
2 P. 115. 
=P. 129. 
4 P. 604. 

270 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

quiver in Sevilla; that the water came first to the knee, then to 
the thigh, and for the length of some two lances, to the breast, 
"without any danger/' Whether the Frio, along here, will answer 
to this, I can not say. Mr. Alexander Deussen, of the University 
of Texas, who has been indefatigably patient in aiding me in 
these studies, calls attention to the statement of Professor Eobert 
T. Hill in the Eighteenth Eeport of the United States Geological 
Survey, page 208, in which occurs the following concerning the 
Frio Kiver, rather inland : 

"It is almost impossible for the traveler who has seen the con- 
tinuation of this stream in the dry region of the Eio Grande Plain 
to recognize in it the beautiful flowing river now before him. For- 
ests of ash, pecan and elm fill the valley, while gigantic cypresses 
border the water. If he should chance upon one of those water 
holes, without having traced the continuity of the stream course, 
he would believe that he stood upon the banks of a large and con- 
tinuously flowing river. He would soon find, however, that after 
flowing a short distance, the water would disappear, either by dis- 
appearance into the bed of the gravel-filled stream-way or through 
fissures in the solid underbed. These running water holes are con- 
stant, and do not depend upon the local rains, but are supplied 
by perennial springs draining the rocks underlying the plateau." 

It seems quite probable that near such holes large villages would 
be located, and that over one of these the Spaniards passed, feeling 
very naturally that they had crossed a large stream with a "swift 
current"; and since the bed is "gravel-filled" we may realize the 
significance of Oviedo's phrase "without danger," as there was no 
danger of miring. We can see, therefore, how the Frio might fill 
all the conditions. 

It was at the hundred ranchos just beyond this river that they 
first found the rattles made of gourds, which latter the Indians 
said floated down the rivers in time of floods. 1 Cabeza is indefinite 
about the time from here to the place where they first saw moun- 
tains. Since he says that at the hundred ranchos they brought 
them the next morning "every living soul of that village to be 
touched by us and to have the cross made over them," and then 
adds that "The next day we went on," we may infer a day's rest 

Wabeza, 129. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 271 

here. Oviedo says 1 i,hat the day following they went a league and 
a half to a village of seventy or eighty ranchos where they stayed 
two days. Thence Oviedo notes six leagues to the Indians that 
were blind in one or both eyes (who Cabeza says were whiter than 
any met yet), and thence "five leagues onward" to a river at the 
foot of the point [punta] of the mountains. This would make the 
whole distance between the two rivers, according to Oviedo, twelve 
and a half leagues, as they went it, or about thirty-two miles. Actu- 
ally, the distance to the next stream of consequence from the Frio 
is about fifty in a direct line. 

While Cabeza notes no distance along here, he has details which 
would imply greater time than that given by Oviedo. From the 
hundred ranchos, he goes "to other Indians," and as these gave "us 
* * * the deer they had killed during the day" we may infer 
that a night was spent here; and "So we left there also, going to 
others" ; and he must have stayed all night there, for he says "they 
rejoiced and danced so much as not to let us sleep." "After we 
left those we went to many other lodges, but thence on there pre- 
vailed a new custom," etc. Oviedo has this "nueva forma" occur 
immediately at (or after the departure from) the hundred ranchos, 
and thence has omitted a stage or more noted by Cabeza. This 
stage, however, can not amount to more than one day, since Cabeza 
says that it was the "following day" after going to the "many other 
lodges" that they reached the blind Indians. It was here, Cabeza 
says, that they began to see mountains, and Oviedo notes that "near 
there were the mountains." If we may credit Cabeza's more de- 
tailed account, we shall have added to Oviedo's thirteen leagues 
another day, which is enough to make the full twenty leagues re- 
quired between the Frio at the crossing and the Nueces at the foot 
of the "point" of the Anacho Mountains, beyond which the West 
Nueces continues in the same direction in which the route has so 
far come. This point is in the region of, say, twenty miles west 
of Uvalde. 

Concerning these mountains, both call them sierras. Cabeza 
says, 2 "and it seemed as if they swept down from the direction of 
the North Sea, and so, from what the Indians told us, we believe 

'Pp. 604. 605. 
"P. 133. 

272 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

they are fifteen leagues from the ocean." Mr. Bandelier infers 
from this reference to the "North Sea" that the mountains here 
mentioned extended, "at least approximately, from east to west." 1 
This may have seemed so to Cabeza, for he may have glanced along 
the escarpment leading around eastward. But Oviedo looked north- 
ward; for he says, 2 "Near there were the mountains [sierras} and 
there seemed [to be] a cordillera of them which crossed the country 
directly to the north." Evidently this account refers to the second 
elevation of hills, or the dissected Cambrian escarpment which 
traverses Texas in a northerly direction, since Oviedo says 3 they 
went inland along its margin [halda] directly northward for a 
great distance before crossing west into it. Cabeza says also that 
they followed the skirts of the mountains [haldas\ for more than 
fifty leagues going at first up a river. 

The only drawback to this location of what Oviedo calls "the 
point where commences the said range" is that Cabeza says that 
from Indian information, he believed that they were only fifteen 
leagues, or forty miles, from the sea. This point near Uvalde is, 
of course, irreconcilably further. It is not at all unlikely that the 
Spaniards misunderstood the Indians here, and that the latter may 
have signed something about a "great water," that may have meant 
the Eio Grande, which is about this distance away. Mr. Bandelier, 
in his "Contributions," has said that the sea must have been this 
near, because Oviedo had said that they were near enough for the 
tribes at the mountains to send to the coast for their friends to 
come and see the wonderful white men; and the next day they 
came. But here again the great student has misconstrued his au- 
thority ; for Oviedo says simply, "And immediately that night they 
sent to call people below toward the sea [mar]" using hacia 
[toward] and no word meaning entirely to the sea. Next day they 
came. These people were likely on or near the Rio Grande. If 
this party had gone this distance (which they had now come) 
around the coast so that they should now be only forty miles from 
the sea, they would, before this, have crossed the Eio Grande a 
preposterous conception, as will be convincingly shown before this 

p. fSS, footnote. 
P. 605. 
8 P. 606. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 273 

paper closes. It may be as well said here, as a guide to the fur- 
ther tracing of this route, that there can no longer be any doubt 
in the mind of any fair-minded student that this party went up the 
Rio Grande for at least seventeen days, and crossed it finally not 
far from the Texas-New Mexico line. The proof of this will occur 
in its place. In connection with the sixty to ninety leagues that 
this journey must yet continue northerly, to satisfy the demands of 
both narratives, the hypothesis that it went in a southerly curve 
around the coast is not tenable. There is no record of any turn in 
it for many leagues yet, and when it did turn away from the coast 
"inland" 1 it was "derecho al Norte"* both of which statements the 
De Soto chroniclers confirm. This alone would place Judge Bethel 
Coopwood's claim for an all coast route toward Jalisco out of con- 

(2) The inland turn. It has been usual for students, 
when they consider this inland turn at all, to note a 
great discrepancy just here between the two accounts, be- 
cause Cabeza speaks of fifty . leagues and Oviedo of eighty 
leagues as consumed on the northern stage now about to be 
undertaken ; but a brief study of the two narratives will show that 
they do not conflict so much as may appear. Oviedo first has the 
party go from a tribe he has just mentioned the white Indians of 
Cabeza to eight lodges, sleep the next night "on the way," and ar- 
rive the third night at a village of "many ranchos." Then he 
states that in "that manner they went along by the skirts of the 
sierras, eighty leagues, a little more or less, entering through the 
country inland, directly to the North." It will be observed that 
he bases his start from the "white" Indians. Cabeza notes that 
after leaving these they went the first day to "twenty lodges," 3 
which we know to be the same as Oviedo's eight ranchos., because the 
same things are recorded as happening there. Then, without de- 
tail he says* they traveled with these natives three days "to where 
there were many Indians," 5 and from there he adds "we turned 
inland for more than fifty leagues, following the slopes of the 

*0viedo, 606. 
*Cabeza, 136. 
P. 138. 
This is again evidently Oviedo's "many ranches." 

274 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

mountains, and at the end of them [the fifty leagues] met forty 
dwellings." Hence, according to Oviedo, Cabeza's fifty leagues be- 
gan three days later than his eighty; and according to Cabeza they 
began four days later. Now four days' travel amounts to thirty 
leagues, and the discrepancy is accounted for, or found not to 

At the end of the inland journey they found forty "dwellings," 
says Cabeza, and Oviedo adds that they were at the foot of the 
sierra, and the Indians here said that they were from a more inland 
region, and were on the way to their own land. 1 Both accounts 
mention receiving the copper rattle here, which was from the north. 
Oviedo says later that at this point they had come "one hundred 
and fifty leagues, a little more or less, from where they had com- 
menced to journey." Since we have seen that there were eight or 
more days of actual travel from the Avavares to the river at the 
foot of the mountains, or about seventy leagues, and since it is 
from this point that Oviedo measures his eighty leagues inland, we 
may see that he is very consistent in his estimates, as the seventy 
from the total one hundred and fifty leave eighty. 

Oviedo says nothing about where this northward journey termi- 
nates, except that they could still turn west into the mountains at 
the end of it. Since he makes no mention of a great river, it seems 
probable that he did not reach the Colorado, though, it must be 
admitted that his and Cabeza's "beautiful river," on which they 
found the next village just a day west over a mountain could have 
been on this stream; and the number of leagues inland will lead 
forty miles beyond it northward, unless there was great meander- 
ing on the way. 

Beyond this, till he gets to what is evidently the Eio 
Grande, Oviedo has not a single detail of the way that may 
aid us topographically, except the mention of a very great abun^ 
dance of pinons. Cabeza has details 2 that are quite definite, but 
not always consistent with any topography, or sequence of topog- 
raphy, that can be recognized. He has a large river coming from 
the north which he crosses in company with the Indians beyond 
the beautiful stream; then there is a plain of thirty leagues to a 

lf They were likely Caddo stock from the Red River Valley. 
3 Pp. 144-150. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 275 

new people who come to meet them from afar ; then another stretch 
of fifty leagues "through a desert of very rugged mountains"; 
thence "finally" [with distance beyond the mountains indefinite] 
"we . . . forded a very big river, with its water reaching to 
our chest." This last must have been fairly near the chain, for he 
immediately notes "a plain beyond the chain of mountains," where 
again people "came to meet us from a long distance." From this 
point to the next river which flowed "between [or among] moun- 
tains" the Eio Grande, as we shall see where permanent houses 
were found, it was about thirty leagues, by his itinerary, as well as 
by that of Oviedo. 

This preview is given that we may return and better discuss the 
situation of the end of the inland journey to the north. 

If we consider that they got beyond the Colorado, and that as 
they turned west (as is intimated and surely happened), they 
would recross this stream, which might be "the big river coming 
from the north," somewhere east of Llano or San Saba 
Counties, since that is the only place where it can be said to come 
from the north. Previous to this, however, Cabeza notes going 
through so many tribes that no one could "recall them all," and 
speaks of their following him through extensive valleys rich in 
game, with mountains on the sides. No direction is given. It is 
doubtful if any country just north of the Colorado in this region 
will fill the conditions certainly not if the direction is required to 
be westward at this stage of the way. But on the west side of this 
river the valleys of the Llano, the San Saba, and the Concho run 
west, and lead on in the line of the journey, as does the greater 
river itself bordering San Saba and McCulloch Counties. How- 
ever, Cabeza does not say that they were going parallel to the gen- 
eral course of the rivers, and they may have been intersecting these 

There is one statement in Cabeza's narrative which seems to fix 
the limit of the inland journey at some point south of the Colorado. 
At the end of his fifty leagues he says that leaving the place where 
they received tfre copper rattle, they went next day across a moun- 
tain seven leagues long the stones of which were scoriae or slags 
of iron. Whatever may be the east and west limits of the position 
of this mountain, there is no possibility for it to be north of the 


Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Colorado, since the iron deposits of this region do not extend so 
far north. I submit a map, furnished me by Mr. Alexander Deus- 
sen, of the extent of the iron ores of this part of the state, running 

Map shoving Iroo Ore district of 
Central Mineral Region of Texas. 

(The itoned line marks the boundary 
of this district.) 

Frm Data furnUhtd by 

Alxandr OWMMH 

Instructor In 5lolor. Univtraur ot 


from Blanco County to McCulloch. It could have been possible 
for this party to have come around the edge of the Balcones escarp- 
ment from Uvalde, past Hondo and the region west of Boerne and 
on into the mountainous and ferruginous parts of Blanco county, 
where possibly some hill with iron stained stones might answer 
Cabeza's conditions while the Colorado could be the beautiful 
river, if they bore well to the northwest. From here they could 
easily have passed this stream, without further mention, and drift- 
ing more inland (perhaps with those natives who Oviedo says be- 
longed in that direction), could have easily reached a place where 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 2,77 

they could have crossed the Colorado again as it came from the 
north. However I do not consider this very probable. 

The best that I can do here, with my lack of local knowledge of 
the topography, is to discuss suggestions. Against this view is 
Oviedo's statement that they went "directly north," and in favor 
of it very strongly is the positive statement of both narratives that 
they refused to go to the mountains or into them, but kept along 
the edges. But when any direction was last indicated in that great 
inland journey they were going up a river, and no river here runs 
at all easterly; however, no mention of this river is made even a 
few days later, and they may have abandoned it. If they continued 
up it, their way was almost certainly up one or the other branch of 
the Nueces, which seems to enter the mountains and violate the 
conditions. It will be recalled that it was possibly the Eio Grande 
which they thought to be the sea. If this theory should be correct, 
the direction inland would be at right angles to the direction toward 
it, at the point where they first saw the mountains. This would 
lead them from Uvalde around the edge of the Balcones escarp- 
ment to the Blanco iron region ; and much of this course would be 
directly north, after a few leagues were passed the thirty, say, 
that Cabeza omits before they turn directly inland. While there 
are yet too many leagues from the Uvalde region to any iron fields 
north of it, this last way disposes of more of them than any other. 
It is actually about fifty leagues by this route, but we can not say 
how much they may have meandered in and out of the various dis- 
sections of this escarpment, for they are silent on every detail of 
this great stretch. 

Up the general lead of the Nueces, directly northward, the di- 
lemma of too much distance is greater; and the limits of the iron 
region here curtail it. If they went this way, Cabeza's iron moun- 
tain was probably found near the southeast corner of Mason County, 
just off the Blue Mountains. Mr. Deussen sends a sketch map of 
the ferruginous lands of this part, and suggests the possibility of 
a certain ridge near here being Cabeza's mountain. 1 In this case 

a l submit Mr. Deussen's letter: 

AUSTIN, May 7, 1906. 
Mr. James Newton Baskett, Mexico, Mo.: 

DEAB SIR: Referring to your favor of the 18th ult., I beg to say that 
any portion of the so-called Cambrian escarpment, near the corner of 
Mason and Kimble counties, might satisfy the condition you mention. A 

278 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the Llano would be the beautiful river a stream which in Cabeza's 
time would well answer the condition. 1 I am inclined to this route, 
and believe that it was the edge of the second, or Cambrian escarp- 
ment, along which, almost directly northward, these travelers went. 
In any case they have overestimated the distance they went inland 
to these villages of the iron region. But it must be admitted that 
if the Colorado is regarded as one of Cabeza's big rivers, the dis- 
tance from that to the Pecos, as the other, is about what the nar- 
rative requires. However, while the thirty leagues of plains may 
be found, it is impossible to find "a desert of very rugged moun- 
tain's" destitute of all game, just beyond these and east of the Pecos 
immediately, or east of any other river, except the Kio Grande ; but 
about the location of this latter river there is no doubt. 

While I am inclined to believe that Cabeza has erred here, at least 
in the relative position of his second river and his range, or has 
considered some usually dry bed, filled with a mountain cloudburst, 
as a big river, on the west side of the trans-Pecos mountains, I 
venture the possibility of his having come around southwestward 
from some point west of the Llano River region, say down Dry 
Devils' River, and then having crossed the Rio Grande as his big 
river from the north. Thence he may have gone on across Coahuila 
and have found there, in proper sequence, the plains and the 
leagues, and ranges, after which he would cross the Rio Grande 
again at or near the site of the present Presidio San Vincent, 
whence he might well go on to the same river again at the mouth 
of the Conchas, and find the permanent houses. 2 I am not suffi- 
ciently acquainted with the topography of th's route to discuss it. 

tongue of this escarpment ten to fifteen miles in length constitutes the 
divide between James River and Rock Creek. The basal member of the 
rocks constituting it is ferruginous. It is called Blue Mountain. I think 
this must be the mountain you desire. 

Trusting that you are making satisfactory progress with your study, 
Very truly yours, 


1 See article by Louis Reinhardt on "The Communistic Colony of Bet- 
tina" in THE QUARTERLY, 111 33-40. 

*It could be possible, as all the Indians with him along here had come 
from afar, that he might not realize that this was the same river at the 
three different points, since it is so distorted in location and direction. 
The tribes which did know about the region northward were met only thirty 
leagues out from the final intersection. To make these three intersections, 
the direction of the line of march need not have been changed except near 
the mouth of Devil's River. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca. 279 

I find later in one of Cabeza's summaries a hint that he came to 
these permanent houses on the Kio Grande from the south. He 
says : x "Where the permanent houses are it is so hot that even in 
January the air is very warm. From there to the southward the 
land, which is uninhabited as far as the Sea of the North [the 
Gulf] is very barren and poor. There we suffered great and almost 
incredible starvation; and those who roam through that country 
and dwell in it are very cruel people, of evil inclinations and 

It can be shown that Cabeza struck the Kio Grande near the 
mouth of the Conchas, from which it may be seen that a line to the 
southward would lead through Coahuila. 

1 P. 166. 

280 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 


Sketch of the Early History of Basque County (Meridian, 
Texas, The Tribune Printing Company, 1904, pp. 14) by 
H. J. and C. M. Cureton is a readable pamphlet contain- 
ing many details such as from time to time are disappearing for- 
ever from the knowledge of men with the death of old Texans who 
have failed to write their reminiscences. This little work deserves 
special commendation for the reason that, while it contains few in- 
dications of the sources from which the narrative comes, it evi- 
dently has fact rather than tradition for its staple, and is presented 
in such a way as to win at once the confidence of the reader. 

G. P. G. 

Analytical Index to the Laws of Texas, 1828-1905. By Cadwell 
Walton Raines (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones Company. 1906. 
Pp. viii, 559.) 

This volume is a long-needed index to the ten-volume reprint 
of the laws of Texas known as Gammers Laws of Texas, and in- 
cludes as well the laws passed since that reprint. Though intended 
primarily for use by attorneys and state officials, it renders much 
more conveniently accessible to students the considerable body of 
hsitorical material embodied, since 1823, in the laws of Coahuila 
and Texas, and in those of the Provisional government and the 
Republic, as well as those of the 'state. Judge Raines' long expe- 
rience as state librarian and his reputation as a painstaking student 
of Texas history are sufficient guaranty of the workmanship of 
this, his last book. 

The entries are usually full enough to constitute brief summaries 
of the laws, and at their shortest they clearly indicate the subjects. 
The subject headings are arranged in one alphabet, and are set off 
by heavy-faced type, making the book, in this respect, easy to con- 
sult; under each heading the entries are arranged chronologically. 
One could wish, however, that the chronological arrangement had 
been abandoned in the entries under such a heading as "Relief 

Boole Reviews and Notices. 281 

Acts," covering nineteen pages of matter, chiefly proper names, 
which would be more usefully arranged in alphabetical order. 

P. L. W. 

Westward Extension, 1841-1850. By George Pierce Garrison, 
Ph. D., Professor of History, University of Texas. (New York 
and London: Harper and Brothers. 1906. Pp. xiv, 366). 

A few years ago a plan for a general history of the United States 
was formulated by Professor A. B. Hart, of Harvard University, 
and others, which contemplated a series of volumes to be prepared 
under the general editorship of Professor Hart, by specialists upon 
particular features of our country's history, the idea being to select 
men with reference to their peculiar fitness for the particular sub- 
jects and epochs involved. 

Dr. Garrison's services were secured for the period above men- 
tioned, and this volume is the result. What is known as the west- 
ward movement had been going on in the United States ever since 
the first frontiersman crossed the Alleghanies. It continued unin- 
terruptedly notwithstanding strenuous opposition to it in the north- 
eastern section of the Union. The main historical interest of the 
movement centered in the region south of the Ohio River and south- 
westwardly for reasons mentioned by Mr. Roosevelt in his "Win- 
ning of the West." He says, "The way in which the southern part 
of our western country, that is, all the land south of the Ohio river, 
and from thence on to the Rio Grande and Pacific, was won and 
settled, stands quite alone. The region north of it was filled up 
in a very different manner. The Southwest, including what was 
once called, simply, the West, and afterwards the Middle West, was 
won by the people themselves, acting as individuals and groups of 
individuals, who hewed out their own fortunes in advance of any 
governmental action. 

On the other hand, the Northwest, speaking broadly, was acquired 
by the government, the settlers merely taking possession of what 
the government guaranteed them. * * * North of the Ohio 
the regular army went first. The settlements grew up behind the 
Federal troops of Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne and their suc- 
cessors, even to our own day. 

The wars in which the borderers themselves bore any part, were 

282 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

few and trifling compared to the contests waged by the adventurers 
who won Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. 

In the southwest the early settlers acted as their own army. In- 
deed, the southwesterners not only won their own soil for them- 
selves, but were the chief instruments in the original acquisition 
of the northwest. The warlike borderers who thronged across the 
Alleghanies, the reckless hunters, the hard, dogged frontier farm- 
ers, by dint of grim tenacity, overcame and displaced French, In- 
dian, and Spaniard alike." 

In this book, Dr. Garrison briefly traces this movement down 
to the year 1841, when these same frontiersmen are flying their 
own flag. Six hundred miles in advance of the furthest outposts 
of the United States with their laws, customs and institutions 
transplanted over the fertile area of Texas, from which they had 
a few years before displaced the Indian and Mexican. He takes 
the story of their incorporation into the Union from its legitimate 
beginning, and traces it through the intricate mazes of interna- 
tional diplomacy, the Mexican war and American politics and car- 
ries it to its final consummation on the shores of the Pacific 
and when this is done, he gives us an elaborate survey of the steps 
by which this immense territory was adjusted to the political con- 
ditions of the United States. In doing so he has had to deal with 
the slavery issue, and many facts and circumstances bearing im- 
mediately or indirectly on that issue, which perplexed the minds 
and stirred the passions of people in that day. 

Political antagonisms and party strife were at white heat, dur- 
ing most of that period, and historians and writers of that epoch 
have, as a rule, not been able to divest themselves of the influence 
of the political partisanship resulting from the struggle of that 
day. In dealing with questions that involve passions, and motions 
of men, the historian has a delicate and difficult task, but Dr. Gar- 
rison has brought to his aid much that is new to the world, has 
had the advantage of a fifty-year survey of the results, and im- 
mense facilities for examining questions from every point of view, 
and has surveyed the whole subject with a purely historic spirit, 
and woven together the whole history with the genius of the artist 
and wisdom of the philosopher. 

The chapter on the boundary of Texas is perhaps the most dis- 

Book Reviews and Notices. 283 

tinctly orignal contribution to United States history in the vol- 
ume. It is comprehensive, accurate, and valuable, and will put a 
new phase upon that question. There has long been and still is 
a notion that the cause of the Mexican war was a boundary dispute, 
and it will probably never be entirely dissipated until 90 per cent 
of all the present school histories are destroyed and the present 
generation is all dead, or the study of Garrison's chapter on the 
subject is made compulsory in the schools. 

The very full accounts of the various diplomatic negotiations of 
that decade afford opportunities for a much better estimate of the 
history of annexation than we have hitherto had, while the chap- 
ters on the Slidell mission and rupture with Mexico give a proper 
insight into the attitude of the United States and Mexico toward 
each other in 1845. A proper review in the QUARTERLY would 
consume more space than could be allowed, and many interesting 
and instructive references in other chapters, calculated to revise 
the judgment of many who have gone over the ground in other 
histories, must be passed unnoticed. 

A very instructive and unusually interesting and helpful feature 
of the book is the series of maps and charts which accompany the 
text. They not only elucidate, but they supplement the text, show- 
ing many facts and are full of suggestions that would not occur to 
the average reader. They are original compilations and are exe- 
cuted in the best style. 

The chapter on the Ashburton treaty will hardly impress one, 
at first blush, as being germane to westward extension, but when 
considered in connection with the chapter on the settlement of the 
Oregon question, its relevancy will be apparent. The same may 
be said of the chapter on the Isthmian Canal. 

The book fills an important gap in United States history, and, 
therefore, meets a demand that had existed in Texas for some 
years. Its two-fold value as a part of the history of the whole 
country, and of the most interesting and important part of the 
political history of Texas, and its assured rank as standard United 
States history should give it a place in every library in our State. 


I. & G. N. R. R. 


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The constitution of the Association provides that "Members 
who show, by published work, special aptitude for historical 
investigation, may become Fellows. Thirteen Fellows shall be 
elected by the Association when first organized, and the body 
thus created may thereafter elect additional Fellows on the 
nomination of the Executive Council. The number of Fellows 
shall never exceed fifty." 

The present list of Fellows is as follows: 













The constitution provides also that "Such benefactors of the 
Association as shall pay into its treasury at any one time the sum 
of thirty dollars, or shall present to the Association an equivalent 
in books, MSS., or other acceptable matter, shall be classed as 
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VOL. X. APRIL, 1907. No. 4. 

The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for view 
expressed by contributors to THE QUARTERLY. 



Thirty-nine years ago, April 6th, 1862, 1 was fought one of the 
bloodiest battles that ever occurred on this continent, called by 
the Confederates the Battle of Shiloh, from a large log church 
somewhat to the left of the centre of our line of battle, which 
was used by General Beauregard as his headquarters. But to 
begin this tale of the long ago, I will say I was a member at that 
time of Company C, Wirt Adams's Cavalry; a regiment composed 
of companies from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisana. Our 
Company was raised chiefly in Choctaw County, Alabama, with 
contingents from both Washington and Clarke Counties. One of 
the commissioned officers, Lieutenant White, was from Washing- 
ton County. The Company was raised early in the summer of 
1861 and organized at Mt. Sterling, Alabama, with F. Y. Gaines, 
captain; W. W. Long, W. P. Cheney and White, lieutenants. 

Our services had been offered through the governor of the State 
to the Confederate government. We were fully equipped with 
Sharp's rifles, sabers, Colt's army revolvers, and the regular U. 
S. dragoon saddles. Our uniform was a heavy gray cassimere, with 
the proper trimmings incident to that branch of the service. This 
equipment, including the uniforms, was presented to the company 

is narrative was written in 1&01. 

286 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

by Colonel Sam Euffin, of Choctaw County; hence the name by 
which we were known, "Buffm Dragoons." The ladies of Mt. 
Sterling and its vicinity women of blessed memory met from 
day to day in the Masonic hall of the village, until every member 
was furnished with a handsome uniform. 

Nearly every man furnished his own horse; some were supplied 
by the more wealthy citizens of the county; others again were 
complimented by being presented with finer animals than they 
possessed, or horses more fitted for the hard service they were 
destined to endure notably, as I remember, Captain Gaines was 
presented by Hon. Frank Lyon, of Demopolis, with a fine sorrel. 
The equipment furnished by Colonel Euffin, I was informed, coat 
him about $30,000. How well I remember the day when we left 
Mt. Sterling for the front, the 25th of September, 1861. Nearly 
all of us were young men and boys just from school. The officers 
were older, and Captain Gaines had seen service in Mexico as an 
officer of U. S. dragoons. This, of course, gave some prestige, and 
lent us some prominence in the regiment to which we were as- 
signed. I, myself, was fresh from the class-room, with no experi- 
ence whatever of any of the ruder sides of life. 

We went from Mt. Sterling to Lauderdale, Mississippi, where 
we were loaded on trains for Memphis, Tennessee. There we were 
enrolled "for the war in the Confederate service." We went by 
way of Nashville to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and became a part 
of General A. S. Johnston's army confronting Buell, the Federal 
commander in that part of the State. Here we joined other com- 
panies, and Wirt Adams's Cavalry Eegiment was formed. We 
were drilled in company and regimental tactics, picketing the front 
and doing scouting duties. 

Early in February, 1862, the Federals, not desiring to force 
Johnston's position, commenced flanking movements by way of 
the Cumberland and Tennessee Eivers, pushing their gunboats up 
those streams, and gaining the battle of Fort Donelson, where the 
Confederate General Buckner surrendered a considerable force. 
This made it apparent that the withdrawal of the army from Bowl- 
ing Green was imperative. 

After the Battle of Fort Donelson, General Grant pushed his 
forces further south to the vicinity of Pittsburg, a small village on 
the Tennessee Eiver, not more than twenty-five miles from Corinth, 

Albert Sidney Johnston Through the Smoke of Shiloh. 87 

Mississippi, where the Confederates were rapidly gathering to op- 
pose his advance. At this particular place, General Johnston came 
prominently into view before the country and the world. His 
methods and strategy had been severely criticized by a part of the 
Southern press. Mile after mile of the country had been given 
up without a blow, and apparently it was not understood or ap- 
proved. It was said a delegation even went to Richmond and de- 
manded the general's removal. But Mr. Davis said to them "if 
Albert Sidney Johnston is not a general, I have none; so they 
got back in time to see one of the masterly moves of the war one 
by which undoubtedly the conqueror of Lee at Appomattox would 
have been relegated to the shades had not death overtaken Johnston 
on the evening of April 6, 1862. 

Three days' rations were ordered in the haversacks, and our 
regiment took the road in the direction of Monterey. I think this 
was Wednesday, the 3d of April. Other roads leading in that di- 
rection were choked with moving masses of men, infantry, and 
artillery, with their necessary trains of ordnance and commissary 
stores. The weather had been rainy and the roads were bad. Who 
of us that was there and toiled through that rain and mud can ever 
forget it? 

On the morning of the 5th of April, Company C of Wirt 
Adams's Regiment was ordered to report to the commanding gen- 
eral for escort duty. Our uniforms were new and our horses in 
good condition, and altogether we did not make a bad appearance. 
Well do I recollect the look of wonder and inquiry that swept over 
young and beardless faces when we heard the words of the order. 
We knew of the lonely vigil on the far out picket post, the firing 
line on the skirmish front, scouting, and so on, but the idea of 
being escort to the head of the army brought up all sorts of ques- 
tions, and our officers were plied with inquiries. 

Right here let us notice some conditions that always held between 
the Confederate private and his officers. Off duty, we all were 
free and easy. Even on duty, except on drill and parade, there 
ran all through the army an easy tolerance that lent itself so 
admirably to both rank and file when the individualism of the sol- 
dier was demanded in hottest battle ; when lines irregularly rushed 
to the charge, or beaten back, would suddenly nerve themselves to 
a stand and again rush forward not shoulder to shoulder, or 

288 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

elbows touching, as we often read in fancy sketches, but every man 
and officer acting, as it were, individually, and each feeling as if 
the result depended upon himself alone. So in camp the license 
of the soldier was controlled by the "morale" of the man, and 
hence the proverbial easy intercourse between officers and men. 

However, we soon found out our duties as a general's escort, 
though our lot together, alas, was too short. The night of the 5th 
of April, General Johnston bivouacked in a skirt of woods near an 
old field, an infantry line of battle just in front and extending 
through the dense woods and thickets to right and left, with bat- 
teries of field artillery just in the rear and occupying assigned 
positions given them by the staff. 

From early in the day, General Johnston had been anxious for 
the more prompt arrival of the troops. Delay after delay oc- 
curred. Staff officers had been sent back to urge haste, but it de- 
veloped that the two corps of Bragg and Polk had become en- 
tangled with each other, on account of the narrow muddy roads, 
and the miring ordnance and artillery teams, and a part of one of 
these commands had to diverge into the woods and cut a new road 
before the forward movement could be hastened. It was evident 
that the attack was to begin on the arrival of the troops in position, 
and but for this delay the battle would have opened on Saturday. 
What might have been the result had the plans of the general 
been caried out can now only be left to conjecture. Certain it is, 
Buell would not have been in reach, for on that day his army was 
nearly twenty-five miles away, and the history of the second day 
would not so have been written, and General Grant would not 
have been at Appomattox to receive General Lee's surrender. 

But I am anticipating. The escort bivouacked near the gen- 
eral's headquarters. Our slim rations in the haversacks were ex- 
hausted, and our commissary wagon was far in the rear. Sentinels 
were detailed under a proper officer and thrown around the gen- 
eral's tent; night and quiet had settled down immediately around 
us. Only the distant tramp of detailed detachments as they hur- 
ried to join their respective brigades, or the peculiar rumble of 
some battery of artillery, until then delayed in the mud, struck the 
ear. Silence had been enjoined on the troops, and no one can 
forget the weird effect and impressions made upon one, silently 
gazing through the gloom of the woods on the still ranks of men 

Albert Sidney Johnston Through the Smoke of Shiloh. 289 

lying upon their arms, with the flags and guidons hanging limp on 
their staffs, and the long lines dimmer to the eye as night fell 
upon the scene. The night was dark and damp, and the April 
wind stirring the boughs of the tall trees sang in the hearts of 
many men that lay beneath, as they thought of home, a dirge of 

Our sentinels, in regular reliefs, guarded headquarters. All 
were hungry. Our horses had no corn, and our men no bread. 
R. M. Hearin, of Bladon Springs, Alabama, was on guard that 
night, his relief coming on in the early morning, and I have heard 
him tell how the early breakfast of the staff affected him. They 
would throw away crusts of bread and bits of crackers as they 
talked, and as his regular beat caried him near the circle of offi- 
cers, who sat or stood around the camp chest, he would pick up 
some of the rejected crusts and munch and listen as he walked. 
Towards morning, general officers had been gathering at the head- 
quarters, and daylight revealed 'a historic group. Some had come 
voluntarily, some had been summoned by courier. Mr. Hearin 
says, hungry and fagged out as he was, he was exceedingly inter- 
ested by the tense but subdued manner of the group. The argu- 
ment even then was for or against a general attack. It seems 
that all the officers did not agree with General Johnston, notably 
the second in command, who favored a forced reconnaissance, and 
then dealing with details as they developed. 

About six o'clock, still early for the cloudy April morning, and 
whilst they still ate crackers and sipped coffee, some talking, Gen- 
ernal Johnston mainly a listener, the heavy denseness of the air 
was jarred by an ominous sound apparently not far off. All knew 
what it meant. General Johnston was standing erect, if I remem- 
ber rightly, when the roar of the gun broke upon his ear. He im- 
mediately faced the group and said, "Gentlemen, the ball has 
opened; no time for argument now," or words to that effect, and 
asking 'an officer to note the time, he immediately called for his 
horse. "Boots and saddles" for our company was sounded, and we 
sprang into the saddle. How well I remember the mien and man- 
ner of General Hardee, as he quitted the group and made for his 
horse held a short distance away by an orderly. His form was erect ; 
his stride long but regular; and as he walked he gathered up his 
trailing sword, and tucking it under his arm so reached his horse. 

290 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

At a gallop he went in the direction of his command, which was 
mainly to our left, as I now recall these incidents. A portion of 
the troops that were near us had silently moved forward in the 
night. Perhaps the whole line moved forward; I do not know, 
but I remember we had several hundred yards to ride in the di- 
rection we took before we came in sight of the lines now fully 

Immediately following the opening gun, portions of lines seemed 
to me to commence firing by volleys. Then the division to which 
we were advancing became engaged all at once; the file-firing 
seemed continuous, as if the men were engaged in close and steady 
duel. The artillery to right and left of us and in front also had 
now awakened to a continual volume of sound- no stop, no inter- 
mission. Now, for the first time, I heard the sound of "dread 
artillery," for almost immediately the enemy responded with every 
available gun, and round shot and shell came through or over the 
ranks in a storm. The mists of the morning were heavy, and the 
smoke clinging close to the ground made it difficult to see ten paces 
in front. 

I shall remember the first wounded man I saw as we passed in. 
He was half reclining near the foot of an oak tree with an 
awful wound in his stomach, made apparently by a fragment of a 
shell, a portion of his bowels protruding and partly lying on the 
ground. Evidently he had just been wounded, for as General 
Johnston stopped to talk to him a moment, his eyes were bright 
and face animated as he was telling the general how the Yankees 
broke and fled at the first fire. General Johnston ordered the sur- 
geon who was along with us to stop and give him some attention. 

About this time, or perhaps a few yards further on, the general 
was notified that part of our line was giving way. Instantly he 
quickened to a gallop, with the staff and escort following, and 
right into the melee we plunged. Here was my first sight of the 
"battle joined." It must have been a part of Hindman's line, for 
we saw that officer in one of the most dramatic scenes I witnessed 
during the whole war. Mounted on a fine horse, his uniform covered 
with an oil poncho which glistened in the light rain that was fall- 
ing, he was just behind his line, whooping like a Comanche, with 
his horse in a dead run, and from one end of his brigade to the 
other he was urging his charging column forward on the enemy, 

Albert Sidney Johnston Through the Smoke of Shiloh. 291 

who were giving Kolands for Olivers, it 'seemed to me, as fast as 
they could be swapped. Suddenly a shell tore through General 
Hindman's horse, throwing him to the ground. The general, not 
hurt, was on his feet in a moment, still urging his men forward. 

General Johnston's presence soon rallied the broken line to the 
right of where we saw Hindman, and as the smoke for an instant 
lifted, I saw the men leaping forward to a battery right at us. 
And right here I saw a Yankee hero. As our men rushed on, I 
saw a man standing still by one of the guns, while others were flee- 
ing. All this was but an instant, for the smoke immediately cov- 
ered the scene, and I do not know what was his fate. The only 
damage we sustained here was a few horses wounded. 

General Johnston, quickly leaving this part of the line, went 
towards the right. Always at a gallop, we traversed a great part 
of the field. He seemed cool and collected all the time. Only 
once did I descry any gleam of enthusiasm. Staff and various 
other officers were continually galloping up to him and off again. 
My position in column brought me at times very near him, and 
I remember that a young officer came up at full speed and -said 
something to the general, who listened intently, then suddenly 
throwing out his right arm and bringing it in with a curve sard : 
"Tell General Breckinridge to sweep them into the river/' The 
night before, General Breckinridge was in command of the re- 
serves, and at that time these troops were engaging the enemy on 
the extreme right and driving them. 

About ten o'clock, or perhaps a little earlier, we rode into one of 
the enemy's encampments, from which our infantry had previously 
swept them. The tents were pitched in company front and were 
full of the impediments of a field force. Evidently the men had 
been interrupted at an early breakfast, for at some of the camp- 
fires the breakfast was untouched, and sonle of the soldiers, partly 
undressed, lay dead in the tents. Yet they say no surprise was 
ever acknowledged by General Grant. I do not know how this 
was, for they fought stubbornly from position. Some of our after- 
experiences of surprisals under General Wheeler made us think of 
occasions when we knew that surprised Yankees could and would 
fight. I will not notice further this controversy, but I here add 
my testimony to the gallant stands made hour after hour through 
this day of rout by that Federal army. The carnage of this field 

292 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

was terrible, nearly one man in three being either killed or 
wounded. Battery after battery was disabled, and their brave 
dead lay silently attesting how gallantly they had stuck to their 
guns. Particularly I remember one Union battery; the wheels of 
some of the guns were shattered, and dead men and dead and 
wounded horses lay around. The men seemed to be all young and 
clad in new uniforms with the red cap and red stripe of the artil- 
lery branch of the service still fresh and defiant on their lifeless 
forms. Their wounds were ghastly; and, though they were invad- 
ers of our Southern homes, as I looked into the pallid young faces, 
I boyishly felt pity for my dead enemies. 

Directly after leaving that part of the field, where the order 
above mentioned was sent to General Breckinridge, General Johns- 
ton made other rapid moves, first to one part of the field, then to 
another. I do not remember our ever coming in contact with 
General Beauregard; but for a part of the day that general was 
very active on the left, though sick the most of the time, as re- 
ported. He had two horses killed or wounded under him during 
the day. 

While passing through one of the encampments, we stopped long 
enough to snatch a morsel of food, for ? remember, we were still 
fasting. Fortunately a sutler's shop was near and into that I 
went. Boy-like I looked for cake, and I got it, too. Some of us 
did not forget our poor horses, and I for one quickly bagged a feed 
of oats and carried it until my horse could eat it. How strange 
it is these little things should occur to me now as I write. At one 
time General Johnston's movement was so rapid and the smoke so 
thick we did not keep up with him, and I remember how he turned 
to us his grave face and steady eye as he watched us in column "at 
attention" close in upon him. 

A great many things occurred during the day that I have only 
an indistinct mental view of now, and I can not recall them. One 
I will mention. Away off to the right in some fields we were 
passing through, one of the staff Colonel Preston, I think called 
attention to a body of men who, he was apprehensive, might be 
part of a Federal column. At any rate, he called for a scout, and 
Jesse A. Norwood was sent to him. Norwood was promised men- 
tion, if his work should be satisfactory, in the official report of the 

Albert Sidney Johnston Through the Smoke of Shiloh. 293 

battle; and our comrade's name and his special service that day 
were duly placed on record. 

I hope the digression will not be condemned if I introduce here 
an anecdote of this same beloved comrade of the olden days. It 
was away up in Kentucky and before General Breckinridge had 
thrown his lot with us. Our regiment had been ordered to meet 
the general on a certain road and escort him with honors to 
Bowling Green. However, he did not come then; but a few days 
afterwards he did come rather unheralded to us, and, as for- 
tune would have it, passed through our company on his way. We 
were on the railroad, and those not on duty were taking the warmth 
of a winter's sun, when some one notified us of the approach of the 
distinguished ex- vice-president of the United States, who was now 
coming to join the Confederates. Various comments, pro and 
con, had been freely passed on his delay, and some thought he had 
delayed too long his coming, accusing him of temporizing, etc. 
He was almost upon us before we knew of his presence. We were 
alert, of course, in a moment, and every man on his feet. Some- 
how, in those days, apple-jack was mighty good, and had a way of 
getting into our canteens. Its very odor was exhilarating, and 
the boys were always happy and exceedingly plain-spoken when it 
had given the inspiration. That day our comrade was frank and 
to the point. As the distinguished ex-official was passing near, 
Norwood was heard to say with some little expressive expletive 
attached, "As they wouldn't give you what you wanted over there, 
you have come to us." General Breckinridge, dressed in citizen's 
clothes, with tall beaver hat, was just stepping over the rails at 
the time, and with us heard every word that was said. Boy-like, 
some of us tittered; but a smile lit up the handsome features of 
Breckinridge, while the boys took the cue and "opened up," giving 
the noted Kentuckian his first Confederate ovation. Norwood was 
afterward a lieutenant in our company, and was captured in one 
of our famous raids through Tennessee under General Wheeler. 
He and Captain Reid, one of Wheeler's staff, were captured to- 

A great part of the battlefield of Shiloh was wooded, and broken 
up in ravines, through which small streams flowed, either into Owl 
Creek on our right, or into Snake Creek on our left. Between these 
two historic streams, and with the Tennessee River in their rear, 

294 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

the Federal army was marshaled, and it heroically strove to make a 
stand for its flag and honor. Thicket and woodland were cut and 
gashed by ball and shell ; the dead lay thick on slope and shallow, 
and the wounded of both armies were carried back to field hos- 
pitals, established as convenience or necessity prompted. The din 
and roar of battle was incessant, and the "rebel yell" as continuous 
as the stream of fire. Flag and man, bush and brake, seemed to 
join in the wild and yet wilder enthusiasm, and it was funny to 
see the old, staid West Point officers with hat in hand ringing an 
heroic measure to its music. 

It is told of Early in Virginia that at one time General Jackson 
had severely reproved him for some license a part of his troops 
had taken on the march. A short time afterward, he, with Jack- 
son and other officers, stood watching the storming of the enemy's 
line by the same troops. Again and again they were thrown back, 
and anxiety was shown on every face; finally, with the well-known 
yell, they swept the guns. As they disappeared in the smoke, Gen- 
eral Lee's "bad old man" could stand it no longer. Forgetting the 
presence of General Jackson, he threw his hat on the ground, and, 
jumping on it, cried out, "D n those fellows, they can steal here- 
after what they want." 

And so it was, east and west, the same wild music of our tat- 
tered ranks always carried consternation to the foe. With the 
Yankees, it was entirely different. Their slogan seemed to be per- 
functory. It was "huzza-huzza," and sometimes "hip-hip-huzza," 
especially in the earlier days of the war. However, toward the 
close of the war, they too learned to "holler" in some sort of civil- 
ized way. 

The bloody day had turned toward its evening; its sulphurous 
smoke was getting thicker around our beloved chieftain. Sher- 
man on the right had commenced forming his last lines; their 
coign of vantage called the "Hornet's Nest" was being girdled with 
bayonet and crested with cannon, and their troops were gradually 
driven in toward it. Later than this, perhaps about four o'clock, 
Gibson and his Louisianians suffered greatly. General Johnston 
was closing in rapidly; the lines were narrowing, and the last 
camps taken. Eight here, we were left by the general, and we did 
not see him again. 

It must have been about half past two in the afternoon that his 

Albert Sidney Johnston Through the Smoke of Shiloh. 295 

preparations for the final blow were made. A part of a brigade 
was sweeping forward toward the position we occupied. Some 
troops in the last camp were fighting with platoon front an old 
formation adapted to defile firing. The troops were in column, 
platoon front, all moving forward; the first platoon would fire, 
then break in the center, counter-march to the rear, and expose the 
second platoon, which went through the same movement; then 
third, then fourth, all the time the whole body of men moving for- 
ward. It was a beautiful movement, and at school under Gil- 
man's old tactics I had drilled in the same, and it deeply interested 
me. During the whole war I never saw it repeated. 

General Johnston was near the tents with his back turned, look- 
ing to the rear and over and beyond us. The smoke was dense, the 
din cataclysmal. Looking toward us, the general pointed to a 
nearby depression in the ground no word was spoken or could be 
heard. Captain Gaines understood it as an order to uncover the 
front of a regiment of infantry that was approaching the general in 
line of battle. I was very near to its right flank as it passed us, and 
knowing of the fierce grapple that was awaiting it, I looked into 
the faces of the men, who were trying to keep in regular order as 
they advanced over the rough uneven ground. They were pale but 
steady, seemingly intent on every order shouted by regimental or 
company officers. 

General Johnston still sat his horse, calm and immovable, watch- 
ing them. When they came, say within twenty feet of him, with 
a slight motion of his hand, as if in salute, he turned his horse 
and rode slowly in their front, and directly all had disappeared. 
That was our last glimpse of .Johnston through the smoke of 

We waited in the position assigned us, having one man, and 
perhaps a horse or two, wounded while in this ravine. The storm 
of battle kept creeping into the distance, the musket balls that had 
mostly flown above us now and then dropping spent of force. We 
dismounted to let our horses eat and munch the oaten luncheon 
we had captured earlier in the day, while we ourselves finished the 
cake of the Yankee commissary. Still we waited; no news nor 
orders. Finally an officer approached and had some talk with Cap- 
tain Gaines. We noticed there was no hurry; the men were 
anxious, but no news was vouchsafed to us". Perhaps other orders 

296 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

came to the captain; I do not remember, but finally he mounted 
and started out towards the left of the line. 

Then the rumor ran through the company that the general was 
dead. Some supposed we were going to General Beauregard. But 
we did not; halt after halt was made, and, as night followed, the 
volume of rifle fire ceased, and the terrible shells of the Federal 
gunboats increased. They were shelling their captured camps, for 
they well knew the hungry Confederates were swarming through 
the tents. It is now well understood that the halt by General 
Beauregard about sundown was fatal to our overwhelming their 
entire army. Bragg held the front and was ready to go under the 

While the lines were waiting and wondering what it meant, Dr. 
T. J. Savage, now of Mobile, then an officer in one of the Alabama 
regiments, told me he crept forward to have a look. He said he 
could see masses of men huddled together and apparently without 
formation. In fact they were boarding the gunboats as fast as the 
capacity of the staging would allow. The gallant Prentiss with 
the larger part of his brigade had been captured some time in the 
evening; hundreds of other prisoners had been all day streaming 
to our rear ; the quartermaster and other ordnance officers had been 
gathering in the captured spoil, and the surgeons were red and 
busy with their dreadful work. 

At night, in our bivouac, we were not without plenty to appease 
the hunger of the day. Huge tins from the camp stores were pro- 
cured and filled with coffee; and, as the fiery missiles of the gun- 
boats cleft the air above us with their awful shrieks, we reveled in 
the fatness of the enemy's camp. 

The morrow has a history of its own. 

Mission Records at San Antonio. 297 



Students of Spanish-American history will ever be grateful for 
the detailed and painstaking way in which most Spanish officials 
kept the records of their acts. This excellence of the surviving 
materials left by them serves to increase our regret for the loss 
of those that have been destroyed or have otherwise disappeared. 
A case in point is furnished by the records of the Franciscan mis- 
sions founded and conducted during the Spanish regime in Texas. 
For, while a small quantity of precious mission records are still 
available, the larger portion of what we know must have existed at 
one time has disappeared from present view. To say that they 
are irrevocably lost is unsafe, except where there is positive proof 
of destruction, for they may unexpectedly come to light in some 
out-of-the-way corner or some unexplored repository. There is 
good reason to hope, indeed, that when the archives of Mexico and 
Spain have been duly searched, much of the missing material for 
the history of these interesting institutions will be recovered. 

It is not my purpose here to speculate as to what materials exist 
elsewhere, but rather to describe briefly the small collection that 
is now the property of the San Antonio diocese of the Catholic 
Church, and is in the custody of the Eight Eev. Bishop Forest. 
Though the collection is small, it contains, besides important ma- 
terial for the history of Texas missions, ethnological data that 
may in the last resort be our only clue to the classification of a 
number of native Southwestern tribes, whose racial affiliation 
would otherwise remain forever unknown. This collection is pri- 
vate property, is guarded with care by the custodian, and, prop- 
erly, is made available for use only under the strictest safeguards. 
It is highly desirable, however, that records such as these, which if 
once destroyed could never be replaced, should be stored in a fire- 
proof building, beyond the danger of destruction. 

'For the opportunity to study the valuable records which are briefly 
described in these pages, I am greatly indebted to the generosity and kind- 
ness of the Right Reverend Bishop J. A. Forest, of San Antonio. 

298 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

The whole collection of Spanish papers, which does not aggre- 
gate more than 3,000 pages, perhaps, falls into two groups. The 
larger and much completer one consists of records of the parochial 
church which served the Villa of San Fernando de Bexar and the 
adjacent Presidio of San Antonio de Bexar. The smaller group is 
composed of records of the missions located near by. It is with 
the latter that I shall deal here. 

In the immediate neighborhood of San Antonio five Spanish 
missions were established and operated in the 18th century, while 
a sixth was projected and nominally founded, but was actually con- 
ducted as a part of one of the other five. The five actually estab- 
lished were San Antonio de Valero (1718), which had existed for- 
merly on the Eio Grande as San Francisco Solano, San Jose de 
Aguayo (1720), Nuestra Senora de la Purissima Concepci6n 
(1731), San Juan Capistrano (1731) and San Francisco de la 
Espada (1731). The sixth, San Xavier de Naxera, was nominally 
founded in 1722, and the neophytes intended for it, though minis- 
tered to from San Antonio de Valero, were apparently kept separate 
till 1726, when they were definitely attached to this mission. 


Of these missions the only one whose records are fairly complete 
in the collection under view is San Antonio de Valero, considered 
together with its antecedent mission, San Francisco Solano, and 
the attached mission, San Xavier de Naxera, both of which can 
best be treated with San Antonio de Valero. For these missions 
there are the following records : 


The baptismal records of these three missions are contained in a 
leather-bound book whose title is: Bautismos. Libro I. De 
1703 a 17 S3. 1 

This book is made up of two parts, which really are distinct 
units. In fact, the first part is unbound, and is only laid within 
the cover of the other; but the title on the outside has been ad- 

^ransla/tion : Baptisms. Book I. From 1703 to 1783. 


*n m tucoSo{cino .- 

i / 1 

* '-' / v 

/ -- / (? 

(ivrt '^d*3tn 

6a t yti*c/ 


/ " " 
V J <.< fli-tlt 

Facsimile of the oldest original entry in the baptismal records of mission San 
Francisco Solano, later San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo). 

Mission Records at San Antonio. 299 

justed to include them both, and they will, therefore, be treated as 
Parts I and II, which are my own designations. A typewritten 
title in English that has been pasted on the outside makes it ap- 
pear as though the book includes records of Mission San Jose, but 
this is not true. Both parts of the book are well preserved. 

Part I. 

The title of this part is: Libro en que se Assientan los Bautis- 
mos De los Indios de esta Mission de 8. Anto De Valero Sita a la 
Rivera del Rio de 8. Antonio De la Governacion de esta Provincia 
de los Texas, y Nuevas Philippinas, perteneciente al Colegio Apos- 
tolico de propaganda fide De la Santissima Cruz de la Cuidad de 
Santiago de Queretaro. 1 

This is an unbound cuaderno 2 of 16 folios, and is in a good state 
of preservation. It contains, under two sub-titles, a beautiful copy 
of the records of (a) baptisms at Mission San Francisco Solano, 
the predecessor of San Antonio de Valero, down to 1709, and (b) 
the baptisms at the Hyerbipiamo District, where the Indians of 
this tribe 3 were kept while awaiting the actual establishment of the 
nominally founded Mission San Xavier de Naxera. For this record 
we are indebted to the care of Fray Diego Martin Garcia, who most 
of the time between 1740 and 1754 was laboring at San Antonio 
de Valero. In 1745 he undertook the work of copying these rec- 
ords, because, as he said, the old ones were in different manuscripts 
and in bad shape. His copy is dated Aug. 12, 1745. 

(a) San Francisco Solano. The first sub-title of this cuaderno 

is Bautismos de Esta Mision En el Tiempo, que se nombro de S. 

Francisco Solano. Todos los quotes con los demas, que se Jiicieron 

desde el principio, yo F. Diego Martin Garcia, Ministro actual de 

esta Mision, translado aqui de dos libros antiguos, por estar estos 

translation: Book in which are recorded the Baptisms of the Indians 
of this mission of San Antonio de Valero, situated on the bank of River 
San Antonio, in the jurisdiction of this province of Los Texas and Nuevas 
Philippinas, and belonging to the Apostolic College for the Propagation of 
the Faith of the Holy Cross of the city of Santiago de QuerStaro. 

2 A cuaderno is a number of sheets of paper stitched together. There 
seems to be no exact English equivalent, and the word, because of its defi- 
nite meaning, deserves to be adopted. 

'Another form of this tribal name is Ervipiame. There are still other 

300 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

ya maltratados, y haver hallado algunas partidas en quadernos 
sueltos. Y como se siguen. 1 

Just preceding this title, on folio 1, Garcia gives a brief state- 
ment of the founding of Mission San Francisco Solano at La 
Cienega del Eio Grande, and of its removal to San Ildefonso, 
thence back to the Rio Grande, and finally, in 1718, to San An- 
tonio. According to Garcia's statement the mission was founded 
in 1703, and it is true that the first baptism recorded in this copy 
of the records was performed Oct. 6, 1703. According to Portillo, 
however, who seems to be right, the mission was founded in 1700. 2 
The last baptism recorded in this cuaderno was dated June 17, 

(b) 8 an Xavier de Ndxera. The second subdivision of this 
document, together with one or two notes entered elsewhere in the 
other mission records, gives us a clue to the history of Mission San 
Xavier de Naxera, which hitherto has mystified students. The 
sub-title of this part is: Bautismos de los Hyerbipiamos Que se 
intentaron poner en Nueva Mision, con la advocacion de Sn. Fran- 
cisco Xavier, lo que no tuvo efe-cto, por haverse quedado en esta 
Mision de San Antonio. Ponense aqui, por no poderlos poner en 
su lugar segun los Anos. 3 Garcia tells us at the end of the cuaderno 
that these baptisms were transferred from two older cuadernos. 

A word on the history of this mission, since it has never been 
written, is in order, as a means of showing the bearings of these 
records. Some time before Feb., 1721, a chief of the Hyerbipiamos, 
from near River San Xavier,* whose rancheria Father Espinosa 
and Capt. Ramon had visited in 1716, brought a number of fam- 
ilies of followers to San Antonio, and asked that a mission might 
be founded among his people. This chief was hereafter called by 

translation : Baptisms at this mission during the time when it was 
called San Francisco Solano, all of which, together with the others per- 
formed from its beginning, I, Fray Diego Martin Garcia, present minister 
of this mission, transfer to this place from two old books, because these 
books are now in bad condition, and because some of the entries are found 
in separate cuadernos. They are as follows: 

2 Portillo (Esteban L), Apuntes para la Historia Antigua, de Coahuila 
y Texas (Saltillo, 1888) pp. 271-273. 

'Translation: Baptisms of the Hyerbipiamos, whom it was designed 
to place in a new mission named San Francisco Xavier, but which was not 
done because they remained in this mission of San Antonio. They are re- 
corded here because they can not be put in their chronological order. 

*There is ground for thinking that this was the modern San Gabriel 

Mission Records at San Antonio. 301 

the Spaniards Juan Rodriguez, an indication that he was bap- 
tized. When the Marques de Aguayo went to East Texas in 1721 
to re-establish the missions there, he took Juan Rodriguez with him 
as a guide, and when he returned to San Antonio he nominally 
established (March 10, 1722) the mission asked for, selecting a 
site between missions San Antonio de Valero and San Jose de 
Aguayo, and put it in charge of a Queretaran friar, Joseph Gon- 
zales. 1 That the Hyerbipiamos were kept separate for some time 
seems evident, for Juan Rodriguez was hereafter known as "gov- 
ernor of the district (barrio) of the Hyperbipiamos," and the bap- 
tisms while they were waiting for the actual foundation of the new 
mission, though performed at Valero, were recorded in a separate 
book, as the above title indicates. This situation apparently con- 
tinued till 1726, when the project of a separate mission was given 
up, for thereafter the baptisms of the Indians of this tribe are 
entered in the Valero book. In 1731 Mission Concepcion was 
founded on the same site. 2 

Returning to the record, the entries of the Hyerbipiamo baptisms, 
only 33 in number, begin March 12, 1721, a year before the mis- 
sion was nominally founded, and extend to July 20, 1726. 

The last paragraph of the document contains the interesting 
statement, signed by Garcia, that on May 8, 1744, was laid the 
first stone of a new church at San Antonio de Valero, the minis- 
ters being Fray Mariano Francisco de los Dolores and Fray Diego 
Martin Garcia. 

Part II. 

The title page of this part reads: In Nomine Domini Amen. 
Libro en que se asientan los Baptismos de los Indios'de esta Mis- 
sion de San Francisco Solano. s 

This title is misleading, for the record continues after Mission 
San Francisco Solano had become San Antonio de Valero, and ex- 
tends down to 1783. While Part I is a copy, Part II is an original 
record in its entirety. It contains 215 pages and 1601 baptismal 

ir rhese statements are based on Juan Antonio de la Pefia's Diario of the 
Aguayo expedition found in Memorias de Nueva Espana, XXVIII, 1-61. 

z Testimonio de Asiento de Misiones. This document contains the original 
record of the founding of the mission. 

'Translation: In the name of God, Amen. Book in which are recorded 
the baptisms of the Indians of the mission of San Francisco Solano. 

302 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

entries, the first entry being dated March 19, 1710, and the last 
Nov. 25, 1783. 

(a) San Francisco Solano. Conversions at Solano after 1708 
were evidently few, for there are no entries for 1709, and from 
1710 to 1718, when the mission was moved, there are only 28, 
the last one being dated in 1716. 

(b) San Antonio de Valero. The record for San Antonio de 
Valero begins with a certified statement that on May 1, 1718, D. 
Martin de Alarcon gave to Fray Antonio de San Buena Ventura 
de Olivares possession of the mission site at the Indian village on 
the banks of the San Antonio Eiver. For a period of more than 
a year there was apparently but one baptism, and that on the day 
of the foundation of the mission, May 1, 1718. I say apparently, 
because the dates in the record are confusing, but after some study 
my conclusion is that the second baptism was not recorded till June 
15, 1719. From this time on baptisms were frequent. In the first 
five entries, the mission is still called "San Francisco Solano, sit- 
uated at San Antonio de Valero." Thereafter the name San An- 
tonio de Valero is used, although for a time not exclusively, I be- 


One book is devoted to the records of the marriages at Mission 
San Francisco Solano and San Antonio de Valero. In it are prob- 
ably recorded also the marriages at the Hyerbipiamo District, al- 
though these are not distinguished from the others. The title page 
of the book reads: In Nomine Domini Amen Libro en que se 
asientan los cassamientos de los Indios de esta mission de S. Fran- 
cisco Solano. 1 This is an unbound cuaderno containing 69 folios, 
and is in good condition. The records extend from 1709 to 1785. 
As some of the leaves have been torn off the back, I can not say 
how much further it originally extended. 

(a) San Francisco Solano. The first nine entries were made 
at San Francisco Solano, covering the period from 1709 to 1716, 

(b) San Antonio de Valero. The records for this mission 
begin in 1719 and extend to 1785. By the end of 1751 there had 

translation: In the name of God, Amen. Book in which are recorded 
the marriages of the Indians of this mission of San Francisco Solano. 

Facsimile of a page from the baptismal records of mission San Antonio de 

Valero (the Alamo). 

Mission Records at San Antonio. 303 

been 231 marriages, and by the end of 1764 the number had reached 
330. Thereafter the number was very small. I did not note the 
exact figures. Folios 40 and 41 of this book, covering the years 
1749, 1750, and 1751, are lacking. We learn from the marginal 
numbers, however, that during these three years only 14 marriages 
were contracted. Some of the missing data at this point can bfe 
supplied, perhaps, from the baptismal and burial records for the 
same period. 


The book of burial records for this mission is, like the book of 
baptisms, divided into two parts. Part I (my designation) is a 
copy of the early and detached records, made by Father Garcia to 
preserve them, and Part II is the original record from 1710. Both 
parts are bound together, in leather, and they comprise about 200 
folios. They have been badly damaged by water. 

Part I. 

(a) San Francisco Solano. Entie[rros\ De Esta Mission} de 
S. Antonio [de Valero] Desde su Fundac [ion] .* Under this title 
fall the first six folios, covering the period from 1703 to 1708, and 
including 120 interments. 

(b) San Xavier de Ndxera. Entierros de los Hyerbipiamos, 
que se havian de haver puesto en la Mision de 8. Franco, la que 
no se fundo, por haverse quedado en esta Mission. 2 There are 11 
entries, all falling in 1722. 

Garcia's note, dated Sep. 27, 1745, states that these records in 
Part I were transferred from two cuadernos. 

Part II. 

The title page of this part reads : Libro en que se Asientan los 

Yndios de esta Mision ya difuntos, de San Franco. Solano. 3 . . . 

(a) San Francisco Solano. Ten entries, covering 1710-1713, 

translation: Burials at the mission of San Antonio de Valero since its 

Translation : Burials of the Hyerbipiamos, who ought to have been put 
into mission San Francisco Xavier, which was not founded because they 
remained in this mission. 

translation: Book in which are ( recorded the Indians of this mission 
of San Francisco Solano who are now dead. 

304 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

inclusive, were made before the mission was moved to the San An- 
tonio. They throw valuable light on the change of names for the 
mission. The entries for 1710 and 1711 give the name "esta mis- 
sion de San Francisco Solano;" the first for 1712 calls it "mission 
del Sefior S. Joseph, yglecia de San Francisco Solano;" the first 
for 1713 reads "esta mission de la advocacion de el Sefior S. Joseph, 
e yglecia de S. Francisco Solano." 

(b) San Antonio de "Valero. The burial records for this mis- 
sion begin with 1721, but the marginal entry numbers 11-18 are 
missing, which indicates that one or more pages have been torn out. 
The last entries are in 1782, the total number being 1376. 

In some years the death rate was extremely high. For instance, 
a report shows that on March 6, 1762, the total Indian population 
of the mission was 275 persons, 1 and this book shows that in 1763 
there were 130 burials, making it appear that nearly half of the 
population died in one year. 


For this mission the collection contains only the book of mar- 
riages, entitled : Libro de Casamientos de Esta Mission de la Pu- 
rissa. Conception. Pueblo de Acuna. Fundado En Cinco de el 
Mes de Marzo de el Ano de Mill Setecientos Treinta y Uno en la 
Margen de este Rio de San Antonio. 2 

This is an unbound cuaderno of thirty-six folios. The first twelve 
folios are a copy of older records, made in 1746 at the instance of 
Fray Benito Francisco de Santa Ana, president of the Quereteran 
missions, and minister at Concepcion. The remainder of the docu- 
ment is made up of original entries. The whole cuaderno is in 
good state of preservation. 

The record extends from 1733 to 1790, inclusive, while some 
pages at the back, how many I cannot say, have been torn off. The 
entries reach a total of 249 in the fifty-seven years. From time to 
time there is entered the record of a visita, or official inspection, of 
the mission. While the possession of the baptismal and burial rec- 

'"Ynforme de Misiones/' 1762, in Memorias de Nueva, Espana, XXVIII, 

Translation: Book of Marriages at this mission of La Purfssima Con- 
cepci6n, Pueblo de Acuna, founded March 5, 1731, on the bank of this 
river San Antonio. 

J .\ v ,'^.y ,,.. /* ; ,%-.W ,yrfytfvr*vfo&fi-& ? \ 

.._/ ^ t V,..- - ' / '.',.Y'- <!,>./.'/,-<- ;/.^<-^' /yr .'- ' 
' -'x' / ' Lf'$t4Zt ~s </"/. ^ wSBste^***^ ilft/jytei'iBfi&t'Jr.vt&s'n^ >" - '" 

;S".C ; SU^j-^'^ ? 


_Jii. 0^7 /* ,^/^< t^awi^ P^f^ 

oVjcolas. /7aLtion ;w,' / " -'-* ^--^ *&Z~*\ 

rjUfloriois. nacion 

t> T" 


fef^n^^t^^ ^ $f%fa$ " , 

!%Jx:fa&dtt-*%* ?&*&* / e*f*4v*&* d<&&* zf* 

Facsimile of a page from the marriage records of mission Nuestra Senora de la 

Purfssima Concepci6n. 

Mission Records at San Antonio. 305 

ords would in many points supplement the information given by 
the marriage record, this book gives us a very valuable guide to the 
general history of the mission. 


For this mission there is one book, in which the records do not 
begin till Sept., 1777. Hence, if the earlier records can not be 
found elsewhere, we shall never know the inner history of the most 
active period of this mission, which at one time had "no equal in 
all New Spain." The book is entitled: Libro de Bautismos, Ca- 
samientos, y Entierros, pertenecientes a la Mission de Sr. Sn. 
Josef. 1 

On the leather cover has been pasted an analysis, or table of con- 
tents, which includes the Concepcion marriage book, but the two 
are entirely distinct records, and are not bound together. Orig- 
inally the San Jose book contained 247 pages, but numbers of them, 
blank ones apparently, have been removed. Otherwise the book is 
well preserved. 

A. Baptisms. The first part (folios 2-57) is devoted to bap- 
tisms, beginning Sept., 1777, and extending to 1824. The entries 
begin with No. 832, (the "old book," which has disappeared, having 
contained 831), and extend to 1211. Of these, 1067 had been en- 
tered before the end of 1803. After this date most of the entries 
are for Spaniards, mestizos, and mulattoes. 

B. Marriages. Folios to 139, covering the period 1778 
to 1822, contain marriage records. The first entry is No. 335, 2 
and by the end of 1796 No. 395 is reached. Few Indians are men- 
tioned after this date. 

C. Burials. Folios 178-229, covering the period 1781 to 1824, 
are devoted to burial records. The first entry is No. 847, and the 
last one is No. 1837. After 1804 the burials of numerous Span- 
iards, mestizos, and mulattoes, but few Indians, are recorded. 

translation. Book of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, at the Mis- 
sion of SeSor San Joseph. 

'The "old book," which has disappeared, contained 334 entries. 

306 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 



A few scattered entries in the San Jose record book, between 
1818 and 1824, apply to these two missions rather than to San 
Jose. No other records for these two missions are in the collec- 

The comparative fullness of the records for San Antonio vie 
Valero indicates what is lacking from the collection for the others. 
In short, for Concepcion there are no baptismal or burial records; 
for San Jose, no records at all for the active period of its existence; 
for San Francisco de la Espada and San Juan Capistrano prac- 
tically none at all; while for even Valero and Concepcion the rec- 
ords for the few years preceding secularization are missing. 


The historical and ethnological value of these records, partic- 
ularly the latter, is inestimable a potent cause for regret that the 
collection is not complete. Their importance can be only briefly 
indicated here. On the historical side it may be noted first, that 
they clear up the outlines of the history of mission San Xavier de 
Naxera, as is indicated above. They also throw considerable light 
upon the inner history of the San Xavier mission group founded 
later on San Gabriel River. On the missions in general the signa- 
tures of the entries for each entry is signed give us a continuous 
story of the personnel of the mission forces for the periods covered ; 
the dates give us an adequate guide to the chronology; here and 
there are recorded notable happenings in the history of the mis- 
sions; while the student of institutions finds light on mission ad- 
ministration and on the effect of mission life upon the neophytes. 

More important still, perhaps, are the ethnological data. The 
baptismal records, as a rule, indicate the tribe to which the person 
baptized belongs, generally designating the tribal affiliation of both 
father and mother. In the baptismal and marriage records it is 
in many cases definitely shown what marriages were contracted be- 
fore the parties came to the mission. Where such was the case, we 
get valuable light on inter-tribal relations independent of mission 
influence. Finally, for present purposes, the two hundred or more 
native personal names of Indians scattered through the records and 

Mission Records at San Antonio. 307 

in some cases translated, may be our only means of assigning a 
number of tribes to one or another of the great linguistic groups 
of the Southwest. Hence, in proportion as language is a satisfac- 
tory basis for ethnological classification and as other data are lack- 
ing, these will be treasured by ethnologists. 1 

*It may be noted here that in the County Clerk's office at San Antonio 
there is a considerable collection of documents dealing with mission land 
titles, while in the City Clerk's office there are one or two documents of 
similar nature. 

308 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 



4.. From the Iron Region to the River of Permanent Houses. 

Let us go back now and compare the narratives on the hypothesis 
that the route ran almost directly westward from the iron region 
to the Eio Grande, as is the more probable, since Cabeza's party 
say as much to the last Indians encountered before they reached 
the Rio Grande : "We told these people that our route was toward 
sunset." 1 So it was, then, thirty leagues out from the Rio Grande, 
but what it had been before this is not directly asserted, though no 
change is mentioned after their turning west into the mountains 
toward the "beautiful river." 

Immediately after the mention of the tribe on the beautiful 
river, near Cabeza's iron region, Oviedo says 2 they reached a great 
people of 2,000 souls, in five groups of ranchos, who killed 
hares, deer, etc., "on the way." These are the same people with 
whom Cabeza passes through or along the valleys, after he had 
"traveled among so many different tribes and languages that no- 
body's memory can recall them all." 3 Oviedo does not note 
how far it was to this new people, but simply says these went 
on with the white men, and never left them. In these 
ranches, says Oviedo, they gave the Spaniards an abundant supply 
of pinons "where the trees are full throughout those sierras* in great 
quantity." Cabeza implies 5 that it was in the country of the 
beautiful river that the "small trees of the sweet pine" grew. 
Hereby hangs a little matter worth looking into: after leaving 

Cabeza, 146. 

'P. 606. 

'Cabeza, 142. 

*In THE QUARTERLY for January, 1898, Ponton and McFarland quote the 
original of this passage with the word serranias 'here from Bandolier, 
where it is rendered "mountain ridges." In the Oviedo to which I have 
access, it is as above. 

'P. 140. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 309 

tke beautiful river Oviedo has only two groups of people met with 
before reaching the river of permanent houses, and his last is evi- 
dently the last group of Cabeza, also; for both narratives have the 
women sent forward from these and note here other incidents in 
common. Cabeza has the group of people just back of this last 
meet the Spaniards immediately after crossing the first great river 
and traversing thirty leagues of plains. He says these were the 
first to whom those of the beautiful river took them, after passing 
the other unrecallable many. With him both these and the last were 
from "afar off." But Oviedo says that it was this first people 
"from afar" who gave them the first pinons, and among whom the 
trees grew so abundantly. This with him is evidently an inter- 
mediate people which he has not noted elsewhere, and corresponds 
to Cabeza's first people "from afar." Hence, if we trust the more 
detailed account of Oviedo, the pinons were a great way from the 
beautiful river not at it and they were across the first of 
Cabeza's big rivers ; making, in any case, the Pecos the river. 

It now becomes a matter of decision from the known facts 
whether the scant scattering of these nuts found north of the Pecos, 
on its banks, in Uvalde and Edwards county, or the abundant 
growth of them in the trans-Pecos region, shall constitute the 
abundant groves spoken of by these chroniclers. Believing as I do 
from Oviedo's statement that it was the latter, the passage of the 
Colorado River on this journey is cut out of consideration, and the 
Pecos, on the route directly west, thirty leagues beyond which they 
met the first pinon people, is the first stream encountered after 
leaving the region of the Llano River. Oviedo says 1 that the last 
Indians, which were "from afar off," and were met just before 
reaching the river of permanent houses, also gave them pinons. 
If after crossing the Trans-Pecos ranges, so arid and fruitless, they 
encountered a river, before reaching the Rio Grande, it must have 
been some mountain stream like Cienega Creek or Cibolo or 
Alamita Creek, at flood by recent rains. From there Cabeza says, 2 
"The same Indians [his first that came from afar] led us to a 
plain beyond the chain of mountains," that is, to the second dis- 
tant people, which latter were the same that led them finally to the 
permanent houses. 

T. 607. 
'P. 145. 

310 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

If they went the hypothetical southern route it is probable that 
pinons may be found after the proper sequence of rivers, in 
Coahuila, and it is slightly significant that this route should pass 
so near to the pinon region of Edwards and Uvalde counties; but 
I can not feel that the trees here justify the abundance indicated 
in either narrative. The two accounts combined, taken in connec- 
tion with the distribution of these trees at present, justify us in 
believing that the Spaniards found them as an abundant food sup- 
ply west of the Pecos only, and that this stream was Cabeza's first 
"big river." This again cuts the Colorado out. 

From this plain, where the last Indians led Cabeza, Oviedo has 
a less detailed journey to the great river beyond. Cabeza's more 
detailed account suggests about thirty leagues, though he is not 
clear. We need not dwell on this, since the identity of the river 
is the main thought here. We shall return to the details of the 
itinerary when we come to consider the time spent on this whole 
journey. In each narrative it seems to have been about three days' 
travel, and five leagues more, or about four days in all. 

5. From the River of Permanent Houses to the eastern edge of 
the Maize Region. 

The. expressions in both accounts imply permanent houses on 
this next river, which Cabeza says 1 ran between, or among Centre] 
sierras. Oviedo 2 notes Castillo as finding "people and houses and 
assiento." Cabeza calls them, in the edition of 1555, "casas de 
gente [people] y de assiento" (which last Buckingham Smith ren- 
ders "fixed dwellings of civilization") ; and he says that "these 
were the first abodes we saw that were like unto real houses." He 
says 3 that the houses seen previous to this were made at each camp 
by women carrying mats. Here were beans, gourds, or squashes, 4 
and a little maize, which this year at least these Indians had 
brought from far westward. When it was not too dry, they "sowed" 
corn here. 

^p. 149-150. 

2 P. 608. 

3 P. 143. 

4 Bandelier says (Cabeza, 150, note) that the word he translates 
"squashes" is melones in the "originals," but in the edition of 1555 it is 
"calabazas." Espejo notes melones, melons, however, in the Conchas valley 
just southwest of this, fifty years later; and Castafieda finds them north 
of Corazones four years after Cabeza passed. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 311 

- When the Spaniards were on the plain thirty or more leagues 
east of the settlements of permanent houses, they sent two Indian 
women to these settlements, and they returned and said that the 
people of the settlements had gone north to kill cows, 1 and if the 
white men wanted to meet people they had better go north from 
there. Cabeza says 2 that they called these of the permanent homes 
the cow people, "because most of the cows [killed] die near there, 
and for more than fifty leagues up that stream [n'o] they go to 
kill many of them." I do not know what clearer statement one 
should need than this, nor what better authority than Cabeza and 
Oviedo one could find of affairs then, though the statement in the 
latter is based on what the Indians told the Spaniards. Mr. Ban- 
delier perhaps because it conflicts with his idea of the route has 
maintained that the bisons never came into the Rio Grande valley, 
because no early Spanish expeditions note their being there. If 
there is any earlier expendition than this, I have not heard of it, 
and there could certainly be none that had better opportunities for 
observation. When going up this river from this point about 
ten days, or the required fifty leagues, Oviedo says that on the 
way the Indians said that many of their people had gone to hunt 
cows about three days away on a plain among sierras, which came 
from above toward the sea; and three days away from even the 
end of this fifty league stretch would not reach east of the Guada- 
lupe mountains; thus, this plain can be practically identified. 

Besides this, Judge Coopwood, in THE QUARTERLY "for April, 
1900, has thoroughly demolished this theory, about cows not com- 
ing south and west of the Pecos Valley, which so many others have 
adopted to the extent of maintaining with Bandelier that this cow 
river must, per consequence, be the Pecos. It is true that by going 
northerly from this region these lower Rio Grande Indians would 
easily reach the valley of the Pecos, where we know the bison was 
abundant in the fall; and up the Rio Grande might be construed 
still to mean into this other valley ; yet there is no need to make the 
river of permanent houses any but the Bravo del Norte, which 
Espejo went up later. Bat we will pass this for a moment, by 
merely saying that it will appear further on that the Cabeza party 

J 0viedo, 607-608. 
2 P. 152. 

312 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

struck the Kio Grande near the mouth of the Conchas, and went 
up the former only. 1 

After reaching the permanent houses, Oviedo notes 2 that they 
had much people and little land to sow in; food was therefore 
scarce. Hence the travelers went on one day to four groups of 
pueblos. The denizens of these told them 8 that onward there was 
nothing to eat till they should go "forward thirty or forty days* 
journey, which was beyond the region where the sun went down, 
toward the north" a very significant statement, meaning that the 
place of maize was not at the end of a line drawn to the west, but 
north of the end of it a statement which alone would put the loca- 
tion of the permanent houses even further south than the Conchas 
region, if it be eastward from Corazones (or the neighborhood of 
Ures, Sonora), where the maize was to be found; and to get this 
"seed" these Indians said that "they had to go along up that river 
toward the north other nine or ten days' journey to the crossing 
of the river, which from there they had to cross, [and] all the 
rest of the way they had to go west to where there was maize." 

This shows pretty definitely that a large detour to the north was 
to be made. Oviedo adds 4 that the Indians said that there was 
also corn toward the right hand, to the north, and lower through 
all that country it should be to the coast, as afterward appeared 
but that was very distant, and this other was the nearer, and the 
way was through their friends, who were of one language, etc. 5 
He also adds that these Eio Grande Indians said that they killed 
many cows near there. Then he says that the party went along 
up that river for nine days' journey, traveling from morn till 
night each day, but always they slept in houses with people in 

*I can not recall, nor have I time to investigate, the season of year that 
these later expeditions passed the Rio Grande valley. If in late spring or 
summer, the northward migrations of the herds might well make this 
region seem destitute of bisons. Caheza was here now about the first of 

S P. 608. 

"Oviedo, 609. 

4 P. 609. 

"After I had this in manuscript, it is a significant coincidence that I re- 
ceived a communication from Dr. W. J. McGee stating that he had become 
convinced, from ethnological data purely, that a northern route from the 
upper Rio Grande ran into the eastern edge of the Gila Valley and thence 
southward down the valley of the Sonora. At the time of writing, Dr. 
McGee did not recall the above statement of Oviedo. Hence the value of 
his conclusions. We shall see that the Cabeza party went the shorter 
route, as Dr. McGee suggests also, from ethnological data. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 313 

them. The herb that Cabeza calls chacan, Oviedo speaks of aa 
masarrones, and he notes that they found on the way few people, 
the others having gone to eat cows three days' journey from there 
on a plain among mountains, which latter came from above toward 
the sea. Note that it does not follow that these people were the 
full nine days up, since he says that they found them on the way. 
"And thus they [the Spaniards] went along up that river fifteen 
days' journey without resting, . . . and they crossed from 
there to the west, and went more than other twenty [days' jour- 
ney] to the maize" eating powdered herbs and hares, resting on 
this stage sometimes, as had been their custom, and coming at 
length to the first houses where they had maize, which was more 
than two hundred leagues from Culiacan. 

This is Oviedo's interesting and helpful story of this great stage 
of this journey which we may examine further hereafter. 

From the second group of permanent houses on the Rio Grande 
Cabeza says that they went seventeen days up the river before 
crossing, instead of the fifteen, which we may understand Oviedo 
to include as his whole stage here. Cabeza has the same words for 
"along up that river." Just how Judge Coopwood can insist that 
there were more than one river here, or translate the expression 
"aquel rio" in the Naufragios of Cabeza as "that other river," 1 
since there is no otro in either Cabeza or Oviedo when speaking of 
the stream here, I can not see. His rendering is in no sense justi- 
.ficd by lexicon or location. 

But Cabeza mentions another route, from near the mouth of the 
Conchas, which the Indians here suggested to him as being the bet- 
ter. He had asked them "to tell us how to go." "They said we 
should travel up the river toward the north." Literally they said 
"the way was along up that river toward the north . . . but 
that ... it seemed to them that we ought not to take that 
road [cammo]." 2 Cabeza does not record the Indians as giving 
any reason for this suggestion ; but they had just told him that he 
would find nothing to eat directly up the river but chacan, an 
abominable food, and in Cabeza's further statement we can see that 
they had advised him to go out from the river, to the right and to 
the more direct north, where he would pass through the cow country,. 


2 Cf. Naufragios, ed. 1555, fol. xliiii. 

314 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

and have plenty to eat. Consequently he says : "In doubt as to what 
should be done, and which was the best and most advantageous road 
to take, we remained with them for two days [deciding] . . . 
[after which] we determined to go [directly] in search of maize 
[not meat] and not to follow the road to the cows, . . . which 
meant a very great circuit [for us] as we held it always certain 
that by going toward sunset we should reach the goal of our 
wishes." 1 

Mr. Bandelier has a foot note at this point in his wife's transla- 
tion, in which he hints that they were now at the mouth of the 
Pecos; that this cow route was up that stream, and the one more 
westward was up the zigzag of the Rio Grande just beyond. Pon- 
ton and McFarland have disposed of the possibility for anything 
but a bird to go over this last way, and the conditions of the nar- 
ratives do not justify it, if we had never seen Espejo. So taking 
deer fat against the chacan up the river, Cabeza says, "we went 
our way ... to the South Sea . . . the first seventeen 
days of travel . . . along the river . . . which we 
[then] crossed and marched for seventeen more." 

This was directly up the river, and not by the way of the cows. 
Up this river the Indians had said "we should travel . . . 
toward the north . . . for seventeen days." 2 Since the Rio 
Grande flows along here almost southeast, going up it is going 
both north and west. The other route, which is not mentioned as 
being up any river at all, would have carried them "to the north," 
too much, or too directly north; but the sunset route lay immedi- 
ately up stream especially here in midwinter. 

After crossing the Rio Grande at the end of the first seventeen 
days, Cabeza has other seventeen toward sunset. The maize region 
according to Cabeza was found at the end of this second seven- 
teen days, while Oviedo has it more than twenty from the river.* 
When they reach the maize region the former notes here houses 
"d& assiento with foundation many of which were made of earth 
and cane; and both he and Oviedo are confirmed in their descrip- 
tions of the people and houses all along here by the Coronado chron- 

l Cabeza, 154. 
'Cabeza, 153. 

*0viedo says they rested on this journey. Possibly Cabeza gives the 
days of actual travel only. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 315 

iclers, who passed this same way, quite probably, about four years 

Buckingham Smith first called attention to the importance of 
Espejo's journey in connection with that of Cabeza, in a note to 
his second edition of his translation of the Naufragios; 1 but it 
seems to have escaped the notice of many later students, or else 
not to have impressed them. We shall see that it was in the winter 
of 1535 that Cabeza passed the houses on the "river that ran be- 
tween sierras" and it was about fifty years later that Espejo came 
by the same region. 2 He was going with an expedition, from 
Mexico to the tall pueblos near Santa Fe, on the upper Eio Grande, 
and he did not go by the route through Sonora and Arizona, up 
the coast, which Coronado and the earlier missionaries had gone, 
but he cut across by a nearer way to the valley of the great river. 
Later we know that this route was established down the Conchas 
valley; and, though Espejo does not say that he came down this 
stream, he describes the Conchas Indians which are known to have 
lived on that river, and he found another stream, which when he 
gets further up it, he calls the rio del Norte. Where he first struck 
this river, he found a tribe of Indians called Patarabueyes, or 
Jumanos, of whom he says "they have . . . fish of many kinds 
from two swelling rivers" ; and it is one of these he describes as the 
"del Norte," because of its coming directly from the north. 3 Travel- 
ing up this river, he found the banks peopled with Indians of the 
same nation for the space of twelve days' journey. They seemed to 
know something of the Christian religion; and they told Espejo's 
men that three Christians and a negro had passed through there, 
which by the signs the Indians made the Spaniards thought must 
have been Cabeza and his companions. Espejo states that he went 
on up "the said river" and passed for twenty-two leagues through 
another nation (about eighty-two leagues in all) whose name he 
did not learn. Next to this was another province, still "up the 
said river," which had fish from certain great lakes near. 4 Here a 
Conchas Indian told him that fifteen days from there was a very 

'Pp. 162, 163. 

Tacheco y Cardenas, Documentos Ineditos, XV, 100-126. Cf. Hakluyt, 
Voyages of the English Nation to America (Goldsmid ed.), Ill, 84-115. 

The translation in Hakluyt of the Ruyz narrative says, "whereof one 
is as great as Guadalquivir, which falleth into the North Sea or Bay of 

*Cabeza evidently did not go on to these. 

316 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

broad lake, with towns and houses four stories high. No one will 
fail to recognize the pueblos at the Great Salinas in these. 
Eventually he reaches the Pueblo region and makes the statement 
that he had always traveled up the said river called rio del Norte. 

What could be more definite than this? For the school chil- 
dren know that Rio del Norte and Eio Grande are two names for 
the same river; and this places Judge Coopwood's claim for an 
around-the-coast route to Jalisco out of consideration. Espejo's 
rate along here was about five leagues per day, and his twelve days 
of travel past towns, through which Cabeza had passed, would 
amount to sixty leagues northwestward beyond the valley of the 
Conchas; hence Mr. Bandelier's crossing of the Rio Grande at the 
mouth of that river is equally preposterous, as has been shown 
from the narratives themselves. 

Since Oviedo represents the Cabeza party as going as rapidly 
as they could up the Rio Grande, but always sleeping in houses, 
the extent of their travel through an inhabited space here was 
greater than that of Espejo. Seventeen days, or even Oviedo's fif- 
teen, would pass about one hundred and twenty leagues, if they 
went at the rate of seven and a half leagues per day. On the 
basis of Espejo's rate and Cabeza's days there should be eighty- 
five leagues of travel. So that they could not possibly have 
struek the Rio Grande any lower than Espejo did, unless the 
situation of the towns had changed or their extent diminished 
in the fifty years. The inference from Espejo is against both 
hypotheses, though we know that only a little later, stirred up 
by missionary ministrations, some of these people did move, and 
later still all abandoned their permanent form of building. There 
is enough in this to hold the route well to the south, and to 
destroy, any theory that these men passed from the edge of the 
Llano Estacado to the Rio Grande above El Paso, as has been 
maintained by some, because one Coronado chronicler says that 
this route and that of Coronado had a point in common. We 
shall see later that this is not confirmed by another of these 
chroniclers, and is generally improbable. In like manner Espejo's 
narrative precludes all routes that do not pass at least fifteen days* 
travel up the Rio Grande above the Conchas Valley. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 317 

6. From the eastern edge of the Maize Region to Corazones. 

Cabeza and Oviedo differ concerning the extent of country 
through which they found maize and permanent houses before they 
reached the village which they called Corazones, or Hearts. The 
first says "from here we traveled more than a hundred leagues, al- 
ways meeting permanent houses and a great stock of maize and 
beans, . . . and they finally gave us all they had; and Do- 
rantes they presented with five emeralds, shaped as arrow points," 
etc. Later he says 1 that "In the village where they had given us 
the emeralds, they also gave Dorantes over six hundred hearts of 
deer. . . . For this reason we gave to their settlement the 
name of 'village of the hearts' [Corazones]." Oviedo mentions 
the incident of the deer hearts, and the name of the town. This 
"finally" of Cabeza indicates that his hundred leagues ends at Cora- 
zones, and Oviedo implies the same of his eighty leagues, which he 
says they went from the first maize to a "Villa de los Corazones," 
and he describes it as consisting of three pueblos small and joined 
together, at which place they first emerged from the mountains. He 
gives details of this eighty-league journey 2 saying that "every 
two or three days they reached villages, and rested a day or two 
in each." He adds that they reached the three pueblos of Cora- 
zones consisting of about twenty houses, just after they had passed 
the sierras, and in another place he says that great crowds followed 
them, till they went out on the plain near the coast"; and when 
they reached there, there had been eight months that they had not 
gone out of the sierras." In another place he implies with cer- 
tainty, that the place which he regarded as the entrance into the 
sierras was where they first saw the copper rattle (cascabel) just 
before reaching the village on the "beautiful river" in Texas, from 
which, according to Cabeza, they went over the mountain with 
iron slag for stones. This fixes definitely the time from there to 
Corazones, since Oviedo elsewhere mentions this whole journey as 
extending over ten months. But we may see later, when we come 
to consider the itinerary as a whole, that Oviedo has a month too 
much in this interval, else he has erred in the time of starting. 

Without sufficient facts to demonstrate it, I believe that Cabeza's 

'Pp. 156-160. 
3 Pp. 610-611. 

318 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

party came to Corazones (which the Coronado narrators locate near 
the valley of the Sonora river, not far from the head of the canon 
in the neighborhood of Ures) down the Sonora river from the north. 
The hints of it are, first, according to Oviedo, what the Indians 
said about their seed coming from a region that was north of a 
due west line from where the white men had struck the Kio 
Grande; second, because Coronado's men, going up this stream, 
found the same conditions (extending even over into the San 
Pedro valley), as the Cabeza party found; third, because we know 
that then the country directly ' east of Ures was very rough and 
broken, and perhaps not provided with food and houses, and these 
men note no rough country along here; fourth, because Cabeza is 
especially careful about mentioning the rivers he crossed while he 
was in the strange parts of the land, and he does not note anything 
of the Yaqui along here, east of Corazones, which, by its peculiar 
loop, would cut any route running into Corazones directly, from 
the east, twice and he, therefore, probably passed north of it; 
fifth, because Cabeza says 1 that he believes that, "near the coast, 
in a line [via'] with the villages which we passed, there are more 
than a thousand leagues of inhabited land," and since this country 
must be beyond these villages, it could not lie in Cabeza's mind 
in any other direction than parallel with the coast, and hence the 
villages, also, to be in the way, must lie in a similar line; sixth, 
because the seventeen days up the Rio Grande would require them 
to bear considerably southward to reach Ures ; seventh, because they 
note no change of direction at Corazones, as would occur if they 
had come to it from the east. 

Against this view is the fact that no change of direction is noted 
after turning west at the Eio Grande crossing, and also that they 
left the sierras at Corazones; but as to this last there are state- 
ments in the Coronado narrators, that imply that the phrase, "to- 
ward the mountains," may mean here "toward the north," since 
Castaneda says that Arispe was one of the villages which he knew, 
"toward the mountains." This stands today where it was in 
Cabeza's time at the head of the Sonora valley northward from 
Corazones. Likewise Jaramillo notes that this Sonora valley had 
mountains on each side (as is well known now) which then were 

'P. 160. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 319 

"not very fertile"; but all agree that the immediate Sonora valley 
was rich and well stocked with food. In fact Melchior Diaz says 
that it was the only region of any account from Culiacan to the 
Gila river, when he went over it about three years after Cabeza 
passed. Further on towards Culiacan, the Indians told Cabeza 
that he had come from sunrise, and the enslaving Christians of 
Guzman had come from sunset; but this was an error, since the 
general line of meeting of these two parties was a north and south 
one, the first coming from Corazones and the second from Culiacan. 
I have massed this all that the reader may draw his own conclu- 
sions. I have drawn my route down the Sonora valley, because the 
early records show no other route as practicable in this region. 
Mr. Bandelier has stated that a route running northward just east 
of the very bed of the Sonora river was impossible in that day. 1 

7. From Corazones to the City of Mexico. 

From Corazones, which, according to Oviedo, was on a plain, 
he says they went directly to the Yaqui, where they waited fifteen 
days, because the river was too high from rains for them to cross. 
Cabeza says they waited on account of the flood (one day) at a 
village half way to the Yaqui. Oviedo rightly says it was thirty 
leagues to the stream. Cabeza says it was twelve leagues from the 
second village. At any rate, here they found signs of what proved 
to be Guzman's men, and in a hundred leagues more they overtook 
them, after the flood subsided. After this they zigzagged among 
mountains, and finally reached Culiacan, to which they were taken 
by the men of Alcaraz under a certain Cebreros, and where they 
say they were received by Melchior Diaz as mayor. Here Cabeza 
says they remained till after the fifteenth of May. In another 
place he says that they were at this place (at least) fifteen days. 
This would place the arrival there about the first of May, 1536. 
Thence they went down the coast to Compostela, where they took 
Guzman to task for allowing the Indians to be enslaved ; and they 
reached Mexico the day before the vespers of St. James, which date 
Tello says was the 22d of July. Here the viceroy, Mendoza, and 
Cortes, the marquis and conqueror, who was there then, received 

*In favor of this are Dr. McGee's conclusions from his study of the 
Pima Indians. This study he has not published yet, but the old routes of 
travel and migration of these Indians he has kindly outlined to me. 


Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

them ; and a bull fight and tournament was gotten up in honor of 
their arrival. 



Map of Route of Cabeza de Vaca from Mal-Hado to City of Mexico. 
8. Afterthoughts of the discussion. 

Incidental to this running discussion there have been side 
thoughts which I have deemed best to pass over till the main 
presentation was completed. We may glance at some of these now. 

(1) Coronado and De Soto. Students have differed greatly in 
their estimates given to Castafieda's statement that Cabeza had 
passed through the place where the army of Coronado rested on 
the plains, somewhere out east and south of the present town of 
Pecos, New Mexico. For a long time, it was thought that this 
camp was well up the valley of the Canadian and that Coronado 
passed no further south than the 35th parallel; but Mr. F. W. 
Hodge, in Brower's Harahey, has shown conclusively, from the 
mere topography, that this expedition came well southward over 
the Llano Estacado to its southern edge at least, and the present 
writer, by discovering an inadvertent omission in Mr. Winship's 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 321 

translation, 1 confirms this from the narratives purely. Further 
study of this route has convinced me that the army proper never 
crossed the Canadian, or at least left for only the briefest time the 
gypsum stretches of the Llano Estacado, because it was never able 
to wear a trail; and that off the eastern edge of that great hard 
plain, between the forks of the Brazos, in, say, the region of Crosby 
and Garza Counties, it camped in the ravines. That these men 
could not have been further south is shown by the fact that after 
deducting from the time it took them to go back to their camp on 
the Eio Grande the number of days which it took them to come 
out from that stream to the crossing of the Pecos, and subtracting 
also that which it would require for them to go from the point 
where they struck the Pecos on their return (somewhere in the 
neighborhood of Fort Sumner) up to the bridge, there are left 
only eleven or twelve days for them to go from the camp on the 
plains to the Pecos Valley, on the short cut home. If Cabeza 
passed through this camp he was somewhere in the sweep of these 
dozen days' travel southeastward from Fort Sumner. 

While, from Oviedo, it may be inferred that there was no possi- 
bility of the Cabeza party's reaching this far north, we have Jara- 
millo's statement that, as Coronado's men approached this camp, 
and were only one day west of it, an old blind Teya Indian told 
them that he had seen men like them many days before, but that it 
was further over toward Mexico a, statement as worthy of credence 
as that of Castaneda, that they actually passed through the loca- 
tion of this camp, and much more in keeping with the probabilities. 
While Cabeza may have had time to wander this far, during the 
days he spent between the Iron Eegion and the Eio Grande, there 
is not a thing in his itinerary that hints it, and his omissions sig- 
nificantly are against this view. That he nowhere mentions wig- 
wams of skin, but always houses of mats; that he notes no tent 
poles drawn by dogs, nor, before reaching the Trans-Pecos region, 
finds nor hears of any people who live solely by following the bison 

*In the text of the translation it is said that the Spaniards crossed a 
river which ran "down toward" Cicuye (the present village of Pecos), but 
in the original it is "down from toward" (de ha<yia the de being over- 
looked by the translator) Cicuye. The omission had long misled students, 
and, strange to say, the rendering of Ternaux-Campans was too indefinite 
to correct the error. This puts Coronado's route much further south than 
it has usually been located, a theory which Mr. Winship, following Hodge, 
has adopted in his latest book on the subject. 

322 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

herds, but only such as exist on the smaller game, is sufficient to 
show that he never came upon the Teyas when they were on their 
northern journey after the bison, with their women and dogs 
hitched tandem to tent poles. 

There is a striking parallelism in one item between the experi- 
ence of Cabeza on the Bio Grande and that of Coronado'-s men fur- 
ther north. It will be recalled that at the first approach to the 
permanent houses, Cabeza notes that they found that the natives 
had piled all their goods in the middle of the floor, and were sit- 
ting with their faces to the wall the most abject plea for mercy 
that a savage could present. As usual, we may presume with 
Castaneda, that Cabeza blessed their goods and allayed their fear. 
Such was his habit. Here doubtless were some Teyas quite likely 
this old man whom Jaramillo met, left at home this year, while 
the younger men had gone to hunt up north. The later missionary 
records show an intimate relation between the Teyas and the 
Jumanos of the lower Eio Grande. 1 So, when these same In- 
dians, having come north to hunt bisons, saw similar white men 
(Coronado's men) away up on the edge of the Staked Plains 
they thought of Cabeza's piety, and, as Castaneda states, brought 
out their goods to be blessed as before, and had them looted only. 
The incidents were of the same character on the Eio Grande and 
on the Llano Estacado a habit noted at no other point in all the 
journeys of the two expeditions. The conclusion is obvious: the 
journey of the Teyas was between the two routes. 

It will be recalled that, after the death of De Soto, at the 
mouth of Red Eiver, 2 Moscoso went west and southwest with the 
army for about one hundred and fifty leagues. After passing 
through a stretch of timber, so peculiarly and regularly open that 
the narrators mention it quite evidently the eastern Cross Tim- 
bers they began to see rising ground. All along they saw huts 
similar to those described by the Cabeza accounts, and beyond still 
they heard of a river, where the Indians said they went to drive 
deer; 3 and the Spaniards, having found none just east of this 
went on there and found both venison and bison meat; though, 
they say, they saw not this latter animal alive. Having crossed 

1 See note by F. W. Hodge, Land of Sunshine, January, 1901, p. 51. 

'There is no longer any doubt of this location. 


A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 323 

and gone beyond and up this new river the Daycao, which was in 
all probability the Colorado they saw to the west a series of 
mountains and forests, but with no inhabitants. Beyond this val- 
ley they sent three scouting parties, in different directions, and the 
country grew more and more sterile and thinly populated, till 
finally there were no houses. Then, according to the Gentleman 
of Elvas, Moscoso recalled that Cabeza had told the emperor 1 of 
such a country, and he thought he must certainly have struck it, 
since he had invariably come toward the west; for though, he rea- 
soned, they were marching "far inland" and Cabeza had always 
traveled along the coast, yet the latter had "told the emperor" 
that "he had gone about in a certain region for a long time, and 
marched north into the interior." 

This is certainly confirmation of the Cabeza narratives, but the 
main point here is that, since neither he nor Moscoso's men saw 
the live bison in this region, and since the latter was not farther 
than thirty leagues beyond the Colorado (certainly in that region 
where it runs almost directly south), the former did not get any 
further west than the latter; for Biedma (who was of this party) 
notes that even before this the guides led Moscoso to where, "in 
seasons, some cows are wont to herd," but the direction from the 
main route here is not given, and it was likely that it was off 
northward toward the valley of the Bed; for the Inca has one of 
his informants say that on the other side of the country reached 
by the scouts, who went thirty leagues beyond the Daycao, was "a 
vast extent of level country where cattle fed in multitudes." 2 

If Cabeza had reached even this, the accounts certainly would 
have mentioned it. Both he and Oviedo imply a mountainous 
country all the way of their going along here, as they swung around 
westward from the Iron Eegion, and hence they never got out of 
the hills of central Texas directly west or northwest. At the sea- 
son of the year when both the expeditions were here in the fall, 
for it is distinctly said that Moscoso turned back in October we 
know that the bisons were in the habit of coming down as far as 
the New Mexico line; for Alvarado, who was with the Coronado 

1 Who was it that said that De Soto knew nothing of Cabeza's travels 
and was not influenced by them? 

2 One De Soto narrator particularly implies that they saw no skin huts, 
for he says the houses were miserable, "like those in the melon fields of 

324 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

expedition, came down the Pecos from about the 35th parallel, at 
this same time of autumn, and found bisons more and more abun- 
dant every day, and Coronado's army found them on the eastern 
slopes of the Llano Estacado in June; so that at any season then 
Cabeza could not have gone very far north or northwest without 
encountering the herds. But it is true that Cabeza's party had 
ample time along here for detours, since we shall see that be- 
tween the beautiful river and the Rio Grande there were about five 
months spent from near the 10th of August to the first of Janu- 
ary, in which month Cabeza implies 1 that they reached the first 
permanent houses. 

(2) Natural History Features. When the writer began this 
study, he was hopeful of finding some geological, ethnological, or 
natural history features which might fix definitely certain points 
on the route. He sought and had the interested and kindly help 
of Instructor Alexander Deussen, of the department of geology, 
and Professors William L. Bray, of the department of botany, and 
Herbert E. Bolton of that of history all of the University of 
Texas. The natural history departments of the Bureau of Agri- 
culture at Washington were also drawn upon, as well as the mem- 
bers of the Washington Biological Society, including Dr. F. H. 
Knowlton and other distinguished students. But, except in a few 
instances, the result was disappointing. The eastern limits of 
the cacti, determined by Professor Bray, confirmed the location of 
Mal-Hado, well westward, but not further west than it is given in 
this paper, and their extent up the Colorado valley as well, makes 
the indicated route of the inland journey the more probable, and 
the poison tree in Sonora which Cabeza and the Coronado writers 
mention as so fearfully fatal was identified by Dr. Knowlton with 
the aid of Dr. J. N. Eose (and is, so far as I know, here first set 
forth) as the Sebastiana palmeri. This is of the order of Euphor- 
biaceae (the Spurgeworts), as Mr. Winship had hinted a group 
of plants of varied form, all having a milky sap which is more or 
less poisonous. Croton oil of the pharmacies is the most virulent 
poison of those familiar to us, and the action of this arrow poison, 
as described by the Coronado chroniclers from their actual experi- 
ence, was similar to that of this drug though many times more 

1 P. 166. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 325 

intense. It is probable that some septic poison was combined with 
it. The account of Cabeza is as follows: 

They have a poison [in the valley of Sonora at Corazones] 
from a certain tree the size of an apple. For effect, no more is 
necessary than to pluck the fruit and moisten the arrow with it, or 
if there be no fruit, to break a twig and with the milk do the like. 
The tree is abundant and so deadly that if the leaves be bruised 
and steeped in some neighboring water, the deer and other animals 
drinking it soon burst. 1 

Jaramillo, a chronicler of Coronado's expedition, says: 

There was a poison here [at Corazones], the effect of which is, 
according to what was seen of it, the worst that could possibly be 
found ; and from what we learned about it, it is the sap of a small 
tree, like the mastic tree, or lentisk, and grows in gravelly and 
sterile land. 2 

Another writer, in the Rudo Ensayo, describing the objects of 
natural history up the coast from Mexico, speaks of this plant and 
says that its milk is deadly and used as an arrow poison, and he 
adds that "it serves also, this same milk, for opening stubborn 
tumors, although I would not advise it, owing to its poisonous 
quality." 3 This poison extended north well over into the valley 
of the San Pedro, and at "Suya" fifty leagues north of Corazones 
it nearly exterminated a garrison. The purpose of detailing this 
will be seen later. 

All other attempts at determining the route by mere natural 
history features were failures. There were great canebrakes at 
Mal-Hado, but so there were all around the coast; the women there 
clothed themselves in a "wool that grew on trees," but the Spanish 
moss, or tillandsia, has no limit toward Panuco ; the herba pedrera, 
though Oviedo mentions a few more of its characteristics, could not 
be identified ; the crawfish and oysters could be found at sundry 
points ; nuts were everywhere, and the bitter and milky-juiced herbs 
were too abundant to mean anything, as were the granillos* ground 
with the nuts at "that river"; the mesquite grew from anywhere 
west to a line eastward of Galveston, and had no defined limits; 

'Buckingham Smith's Translation (Ed. 1871), p. 172. 
2 Winship, "The Coronado Expedition," in Bureau of Ethnology, Four- 
teenth Annual Report, Part I, p. 585. 
"See Ibid., 538. 
*Naufragios, (Ed. 1555). fol. xxiv. 

326 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

maize meal was away out of place "up that river," since it was 
never known to be grown then west of the Brazos or east of the 
Kio Grande ; the pifion was too scant on the hither or eastern side 
of the Pecos ; while quails and hares could be found anywhere, and 
the gourds nowhere in central Texas, and the chacan (Cabeza) 
or masserones (Oviedo) up the Rio Grande and the other herb the 
powder of which was eaten on the high plains beyond were out of 
the realm of conjecture. Not a crumb of comfort could be found 
in the stones even, which Cabeza said he believed the Mariames 
would have eaten, had there been any in that country; for Mr. 
Deussen wrote me that there were practically none from New Or- 
leans to Brownsville, on the coast, and especially along the coast 
under discussion. Only the iron region generally in the Llano 
River country or eastward was left me ; and both accounts had dis- 
tance enough to run far beyond that from any point north of the 
Rio Grande. Because the Inca had said that De Soto was buried 
in a coffin excavated out of a solid log of live oak (green and heavy 
that it might sink well) I had already determined that he died at 
the mouth of Red River, for this tree does not extend to the 
mouth of the Arkansas, and Brevoort, Bourne, and others are 
wrong; but I could find nothing on this route so exclusive and 
excluding, unless it be the already noted Sonora arrow poison. 
Even in this case Coopwood claims something as bad may be found 
on his gulf coast route. 

Neither have I been able to find any ethnological aid. On the 
Corona do expedition, this is important. Even the flint hoes of the 
Quiviras, found in*Kansas, limit the extent of his journey, for the 
Quiviras planted, and their neighbors eastward did not ; but so far 
as the local student knows, there are no such tale-telling flints in 
Texas, else they have not been found and read yet. I have some 
hopes of this help still; but the tribes here were not so settled as 
those of Kansas, and they lived less by labor and less even by the 
chase, since the bison was not always with them here as there. So 
I have had itinerary and topography only to depend on and I 
have abided with them. 

(3) Discussion of the Routes Indicated by other Students. It 
may not be out of place, for the sake of completeness, to discuss 
briefly the main points in such papers as have already appeared in 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 327 

The first is that of Ponton and McFarland in the issue of Janu- 
ary, 1898. They seem to be the pioneers in locating the four 
rivers west of Mal-Hado, and it is strange that they did not locate, 
from Oviedo, the ancones beyond. The sand hills of the mouth 
of the Guadalupe led them astray, and it is remarkable that they 
have their river of nuts and the dunes and ancon so far apart as 
the Colorado for the one, the middle of Matagorda Bay for the 
other, and the head of San Antonio Bay for the third; whereas, 
according to their own interpretation of Oviedo, they should all be 
together, as one might wrongly infer from a casual reading. 

Their demolishing of Mr. Bandolier's fancies concerning the 
substitution of cedars for pifions and his impossible location of the 
route up the zigzag of the Rio Grande is definitive, though they 
ignore the statements of Espejo; but they err as seriously in not 
carrying the route inland to the north, and in carrying it up the 
Pecos. There is no evidence that Cabeza went up any "big river" 
but one, and that was the Eio Grande. They very properly reject 
Bandolier's inland turn up the Brazos ; but it should not be for the 
reason that the cactus is not found there (as it is not), but because 
the Spaniards went at least one hundred and forty leagues west- 
ward from Mal-Hado to where they saw mountains, before they 
made the northward start. In endorsing Bancroft's upper route 
from the plains near the Llano Estacado, they ignore the fifteen or 
seventeen days' trip up any river. They claim that the verity of 
the intersection of the route of these men with that of Coronado 
as noted by Castaneda, can not be ignored, but they seem to have 
overlooked the very much modified statement of Jaramillo. Their 
confidence in the limits of the bison eastward as defining the loca- 
tion of the first day, as set forth in Winsor's History, is scarcely 
well placed, since we know that in different seasons the stress of 
drouth and cold varied these limits greatly. With other students 
they seem to err in thinking that Cabeza notes a well-defined line 
here to which bisons came. He simply says 1 "All over this coun- 
try there are a great many deer, fowl and other animals which I 
have before enumerated. Here also they come up with cows." Now 
this enumeration to which he refers took place when he was de- 
scribing things away east of this on the coast of Florida proper. 
In this last connection he has just been telling of the habits of the 

'P. 94. 

328 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Mariames when they go to the tuna region thirty leagues west of 
the nut river, and the phrase, "this country" would seem to apply 
to that ; so also his "here." There is no doubt, however, that bisons 
came later to Lavaca River. In noting the food and giving the 
customs of the people east of this first ancon, there is no mention 
of even a buffalo robe; and hence Cabeza had never gone to these 
cows in his trading ventures along the coast. They were, there- 
fore, pretty well west of the great ancon, and count nothing in de- 
fining the location of this first ancon and river of nuts. 

Judge 0. W. Williams, in THE QUARTEELY for July, 1899, 
endorses the foregoing students in their location of Mal-Hado 
and subsequent coastal topography. According to Professor Bray, 
he errs in saying that more inland the tunas can not be found. 
Like Ponton and McFarland, he speaks of the bison range as -defi- 
nitely limited, and he seems to confuse the three times that Cabeza 
ate of their meat with Dorantes's three journeys as far west as the 
great ancon. Beyond this he is not definite; but his mention of a 
great limestone plateau west of Edwards County, full of game, is 
interesting, since the journey westward from the iron region went 
very probably over this section either on the direct route, or on 
that hypothetical one through Coahuila. He makes a strong cor- 
roborative point in favor of the Presidio, or Conchas region on the 
Eio Grande, being the place of the first permanent houses, when 
he states that in this neighborhood corn has been planted from 
time immemorial in " 'temporales,' that is, in sandy stretches near 
the river, . . . [where it] depends upon rain and subirriga- 
tion from the river to bring it to fruitage." This comports well 
with what Cabeza says about corn-growing there. The failure for 
the two years previous to Cabeza's coming had depended on drouth 
possibly on one that had made the river-bed dry, and cut off the 
subirrigation ; for we know from Castaneda, Humboldt, and others 
that there were places above this where the Rio Grande sank in the 
sand for miles during great drouths. Judge Williams is correct 
in saying that it would seem that it is these same corn-planters 
which Cabeza calls the "Cow nation." How anyone can read 
otherwise is hard to understand; but he immediately errs in giv- 
ing credit to Bandelier's statement that this could not possibly be 
true. As already shown this old hydra has had all its necks am- 
putated by Judge Coopwood, and by further statements of Cabeza 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 329 

and Oviedo as well as by a critical study of the narratives in con- 
nection with the migration of the herds and the topography. 
When we recall to what a great extent the 'bison has changed its 
range and habitat within the memory of this generation, we should 
be chary in making broad assertions about where its limits were in 
Cabeza's time, fifty years before we have any other account of the 
country. The persecution of certain hunter tribes would change 
the range then as later. There are notices of bisons passing in dry 
years to the Eio Grande valley above this from a general habitat 
much further east; and we know that this was an unusually dry 
time even in the winter. It may be, however, that the cows were 
on the Pecos, as Williams suggests ; but that Cabeza's "cow people" 
lived on the river that ran among mountains the Eio Grande 
is firmly established, if the narratives can be depended upon. 

Judge Bethel Coopwood's long discussion of the route of Cabeza, 
in THE QUARTEELY for October, 1889, and January, April and July, 
1900, is full of interest for its daring originality in so plausibly 
presenting such a bizarre scheme by means of what seems to 
have been a sincerely intense study. Whatever we may think of 
the probability of his theories, we must feel grateful to him for 
the amount of unique information that he has massed. The paper 
is too long to follow in detail. We may see that his first presump- 
tion of a far inland position, around Aransas Bay, for his four 
rivers; his making St. Joseph's Island his Mal-Hado, and his ig- 
noring of the strictly coastal journey of these men, as they went 
beyond it; his continuance of the journey around the coast south 
(instead of westward with an almost right-angled turn inland, as 
indicated by the narratives and the De Soto chroniclers) ; his con- 
tinuance of the journey then westward to Jalisco beyond the City 
of Mexico through a country whose inhabitants could have in- 
formed the travelers of the location of the city so practically near 
them a country that had been invaded then by white men often 
all these show how this student has allowed a preconceived idea to 
change directions, dwarf distances, and overlook plain statements 
generally. He also has split on the rock of ignoring Espejo and 
much else. 

He denies that Cabeza ever passed down through Culiacan, be- 
cause this would be fatal to his proposed route. He does seem to 
show from records that Melchior Diaz could not have been mavor 

330 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

there when this party passed in the spring of 1536. He quotes 
from Tello certain statements to show that it was not possible for 
the two captains, Cebreros and Alcaraz, to have been near the 
Yaqui in that year, under a certain other Captain Chirinos; but 
these are all his own deductions, whereas Tello says distinctly that 
Chirinos did bring these men from Petatlan River to Compostela, 
passing Culiacan, where Diaz was mayor. Tello's account is that 
Chirinos had sent Cebreros and Alcaraz forward to make discov- 
eries. On this trip they heard that Cabeza's men were ahead at 
the Yaqui, "where they remained fifteen days crying over their 
long and painful journey, . . . and meeting Cebreros, he took 
them to where Alcaraz was, and they were taken by him to Captain 
Chirinos, by whom they were treated kindly, and who recognized 
them, because they had been his friends before the voyage to 
Florida/' 1 Coopwood claims that all this and the account of 
Cabeza and the joint letter written at Mexico were fixed up by the 
viceroy, Mendoza, involving the reports about the cotton and gems 
and large houses for to the north, so that the authorities of the 
crown might empower him to make an expedition up that way, 
thus getting ahead of Guzman and Cortes, who were making sim- 
ilar attempts. There can be no doubt that "the good" Mendoza 
was a conscienceless schemer; but, on the face of it, it would seem 
that he would have had this joint letter made more definite and 
wonderful in its statements than either it, or the Naufragios, was, 
which latter was written in Spain, far away from the influence of 
the viceroy; for they are both very indefinite in their assertions, 
and each might have said that these men had seen actual wonders, 
if the object had been to instigate expeditions merely. From what 
we know of later expeditions, and the report which they obtained 
from Indian information we find that the high houses, the tur- 
quoises, the feather trading and all that are of a piece with that 
which Marcos, Diaz, and Coronado's men heard and, subsequently, 
to a large extent verified. 

As Judge Coopwood is a plausible advocate, it may not be out 
of the way to look further into the fallacy of his claims, with such 
side lights as are at hand. We have seen how the arrow poisons 
of Cabeza and Jaramillo coincide. What other men then had 
knowledge of this and all the details of this plant's growth and 


A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 331 

effects, so that a modern naturalist can determine the species from 
their description? It may be easily shown that Guzman's men 
knew nothing of it, and that it was not used by the tribes about 
the Yaqui which, the joint letter shows for the first time was the 
line of division between two civilizations. It was an Opati prod- 
uct, and the Opati tribe was then north of that river. Nowhere 
else yet has such a poison been recorded as used. Then, again, 
that these men saw here what they speak of is apparent from the 
evident sincerity of the narrative, and from the harmony of their 
descriptions of the houses, costumes, and customs of the women 
with those of the Coronado narrators. Oviedo's account 1 says that 
these permanent houses and the peculiar dress of the women pre- 
vailed then for a good three hundred leagues northward 2 from a 
river discovered by Nuno de Guzman (the Yaqui), and that from 
this river forward (toward Mexico) the houses were of petates 
and straw, with the women's skirts coming only half way down. 
These were the facts. The Petatlan Eiver was named after the 
style of these houses. 

Again, Mendoza writes the emperor, about 1536, 3 after the com- 
ing of Cabeza, telling his Majesty of the journey of Marcos of 
Niza to the flat-roofed pueblos. He says in this that he had ar- 
ranged with Dorantes to lead an expedition to these, but that the 
scheme fell through. However, he adds that he had left yet the 
negro (i. e., Steven) from him. He says that he supposed that 
Dorantes would be able to do his Majesty great service, in search- 
ing out the secrets of those parts. Why should he want these two 
for exploration, unless they had some experience up north, in the 
region of which he is evidently speaking? He adds that he had 
instructed Coronado to pass through Topira (Durango) and meet 
Marcos in the Valley of Corazones (and he gives its approximate 
distance from Culiacan) ; but that this commander had to return, 
on account of impenetrable mountains, to Culiacan, which was then 
the last province subdued by the Spaniards toward the north. He 

1 P. 610. 

That is from the Gila River to the Yaqui, which shows that he passed 
near the Gila valley, else he could not have known of the great extent of 
the Pima stock and architecture. 

Hakluyt, Voyages of the English Nation to America (Goldsmid ed.), 
Ill, 63-66; Bandelier, The Journey of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, 

332 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

had, however, sent the negro as a guide for Marcos. Who else 
then could have known anything of Corazones, but some one of 
this Cabeza party, or those getting information from them ? Lastly 
and definitely, Castaneda says that, on the journey of Marcos, "the 
Indians got along with the negro better [than with the friars], 
because they had seen him before, [and] this was the reason he 
was sent on ahead ... to pacify the Indians." Further dis- 
cussion is useless, and if this party did not pass Corazones on its 
way into Mexico, there is no use in trusting any statements con- 
cerning the journey either of their own or those of others. 

In opposition to the very far southern position of the route of 
Coopwood, and even that of Bandelier, it is nearly established that 
Cabeza crossed the Eio Grande just west of Bincon, New Mexico, 
where, since the mountains crowd into the river, they would "have 
to cross" [avian de atmversar}, according to Oviedo. 1 Espejo, 
loitering, made five leagues per day on his journey along here. 
These men were hurrying, on account of hunger, going from morn 
till night. They made, doubtless, not less than six leagues, and 
seventeen days of this would be one hundred and two leagues, or 
two hundred and sixty-five miles along this stream upward. Lay 
this distance on any map, and note that it stretches from Presidio 
to Bincon. Note at this latter place that the river ceases to bear 
westward that this is in all respects a place to leave it, to go 
westward. In view of this and what Espejo says, Mr. Bandelier's 
crossing at Presidio is out of the question, and there is no occasion 
for Judge Williams to get tangled up about there probably having 
been several crossings in this region. 

I regret that space will not allow me to quote from Coopwood's 
citations concerning the bison in Mexico the really valuable part 
of his discussion, for which students of these early Spanish ex- 
peditions should be grateful. He is correct also in showing up 
some of the inconsistencies of Cabeza's early itinerary, but his 
holding the poor traveler down to astronomical niceties, after he 
had been for eight years keeping the time by the moons only, is 
slightly finical and apparently of little import. 

Oviedo here is no more trustworthy, and we shall see that 
Cabeza's time for starting from the Avavares, say the first of June 
as indicated by his eight months spent with them from the first 

1 P. 609. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 333 

of October is as near right as Oviedo's first of August. Cabeza's 
hint of being on the Rio Grande in January comports well with 
the rest of the itinerary, and shows that Oviedo, too, is wrong a 
month. We shall consider that later. 

Judge Coopwood has misunderstood Cabeza as having two dis- 
tinct towns a Culiacan and a San Miguel; and he says that the 
latter town was removed to the site of the former years before. 
In this he is correct; but he does not seem to note that Cabeza 
stopped out east of the village and did some baptizing at "a settle- 
ment of peaceable Indians." There Cebreros left him and went 
on "three leagues further to a place called Culiacan." 1 Diaz came 
out to where Cabeza was, and, seeing his influence among the sav- 
ages, begged him to stay and do further missionary work among 
the Indians. Cabeza did so, and finally went into Culiacan, but 
this time he calls it San Miguel, as did others at that time. Men- 
doza, in the letter to the emperor above cited, 2 speaks of it at first 
as "Saint Michael [San Miguel] of Culiacan" and later as simply 
"Culiacan." It went by either name in the early Mexican chron- 
iclers. Hence Judge Coopwood's error here. He did not read 
closely. Mr. Dellenbaugh split on the same rock of not properly 
distinguishing and locating these towns, and had to be corrected by 
F. W. Hodge, in Brewer's Harahey, in his discussion of the route 
of Coronado. This blunder in location carried the route proposed 
by the former into a watershed that Jaramillo says distinctly Coro- 
nado never entered. There is no error here on the part of Cabeza. 
9. Tabulation of the Time and Distances of the Journey. 

Perhaps a retabulation of such parts of the itinerary as we may 
be able to approximate may be rather convenient here near the end 
of the discussion for easy reference. 

From Mal-Hado to first ancon, Dorantes says 40 leagues ; Cabeza 
implies 45 leagues. 

To next ancon, Cabeza implies 15 leagues: Oviedo says 12 

To hither edge of tunas on coast, Cabeza says 30 leagues ; Oviedo 
says 40 leagues to farther edge. 

Thence to Avavares, 3 1 day (Oviedo), 7 leagues. 

'Cabeza, 175. 

2 P. 331. 

"They delay here eight months possibly nine. 

334 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

To next Indians, 1 day. 

Eest among granillos, 8 days. 

To forest, 1 day, five leagues. 

To fifty ranches, 1 day. 

Rest here, 5 or 6 days. 

On past spring or little river to one like Guadalquiver and be- 
yond (Cabeza), 1 day; (Oviedo) 8 or 9 leagues. 

Extra days indicated by Cabeza to here, 2 days. 

Rest two days here (at mesquite, Oviedo), 2 days. 

To the sight of the sierras, 1 day. 

On to river at foot of punta, 1 day, 5 leagues. 

Another day shown by Cabeza. 

Inland from river, according to Oviedo, 80 leagues; according 
to Cabeza, 4 days plus 50 leagues. 

Over iron mountain or west to beautiful river, 1 day, 7 leagues. 

A long indefinite stage to the five groups of settlements according 
to Oviedo; through many tribes and valley, according to Cabeza. 

Beyond a big river (Cabeza), to a new people, 30 leagues. 

Fifty leagues of arid mountains, across a big river and then 
over to some plains (Cabeza) to some more people from afar, 
which are Oviedo's second and only group before the permanent 
houses, 50 leagues. 

One day following the women (Cabeza). 

Three more journeys (Cabeza), 3 days (?). 

Another day of 1 plus 6 leagues, 1 day, 7 leagues. 

Next day to permanent houses, 1 day. 

According to Oviedo, this stage was first three days and a part 
of another, and it was at the end of three days that Castillo re- 
turned. His part of a day corresponds with Cabeza's "next day." 
Four days and thirty leagues will cover this distance in both nar- 
ratives, 4 days, 30 (?) leagues. 

At the first houses on the Rio Grande, 1 day. 

To the next, 1 day. 

There at least, 2 days. 

Up the stream on east bank, according to Cabeza, 17 days; ac- 
cording to Oviedo, 15 days, or possibly 24 days. 

Across to first maize and fixed houses, 17 days; or, according 
to Oviedo, more than 20 days. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 335 

Through these to Corazones, according to Cabeza more than 100 
leagues; or, according to Oviedo, 80 leagues. 

Eest here (Cabeza), 3 days. 

To another village where it rained (Cabeza), 1 day. 

Tarry here, 15 days. 

To the Yaqui (Cabeza), 12 days; the whole distance from Cora- 
zones to the Yaqui being put by Oviedo at 30 leagues. 

Thence to Culiacan (Oviedo), 170 leagues. 

In this connection may be noticed an interesting inconsistency. 
Oviedo says that he struck the first permanent houses with maize 
"more than two hundred leagues from Culiacan." Through the 
district where these houses were found he says that he traveled 
"more than eighty leagues," leaving an estimate of one hundred 
and twenty leagues from Corazones to Culiacan. His itinerary 
certainly gives thirty to the Yaqui, one hundred thence to the 
Indian village on the mountain top, and forty on to Culiacan. 
The consensus of the Coronado narrators gives the whole as one 
hundred and forty leagues, which it actually is in a direct line. 

(4) Conflict in the Two Accounts. Oviedo says 1 that when 
they reached Corazones they had been eight months in the moun- 
tains, and earlier he refers 2 to this whole journey as being of ten 
months' duration. Cabeza also speaks of it 3 as a ten months' 
journey "after our rescue from captivity," as if he dated the end of 
it at Culiacan nearly two months later. When we compare tiie Jates, 
and note the time intervals at each end of the journey we find that 
Oviedo's stage of eight months in the mountains shows a consid- 
erable error. It is the most serious difference that there is between 
the narratives. Oviedo, by his saying that when they reached Cora- 
zones they had spent eight months in the mountains, leaves only 
two months to go both from the Avavares to the mountains at the 
start and from Corazones., to Culiacan, at the finish if, as would 
seem to be the case, he means to treat the whole journey as ending 
at Culiacan. We shall see that Cabeza was likely correct in ending 
it there, since it accords with his hint that it was January when he 
reached the Rio Grande. Near the end of his narrative, 4 Oviedo 

P. 610. 
2 P. 604. 
"P. 182. 
4 P. 610. 

336 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

shows distinctly that his account regarded the Spaniards as enter- 
ing the mountains just after (or at least not before), they ended 
their inland journey north in Texas, where they received the cop- 
per rattle. In like manner the mountain journey ends at Cora- 
zones. If they were two months going from Corazones to Culi- 
acan, there would be no time left to go from the Avavares to the 
Iron Eegion. They were certainly little less than two months be- 
tween Corazones and Culiacan. Oviedo accounts for thirty-three 
days on this stage, and "more than a hundred leagues" of travel be- 
sides, for which the time is not given. He says that below the Yaqui 
they ate bark and roots on this stretch for some time and were very 
weak. Hence their rate was not rapid. It is likely that they were 
at least twenty days going these one hundred leagues, and that the 
five to seven days of resting noted at the "peaceful village" just 
out of Culiacan were not all that were spent there. His summary 
makes the whole way one hundred and seventy leagues, mostly near 
the coast; but he shows that they passed to a point on the high 
mountain which was east of Culiacan forty leagues, and this im- 
plies that they went a longer route than the direct line. This 
makes 53 days in all a close approximation to a similar estimate 
that may be made from Cabeza's account. 

Cabeza says that he left Culiacan the 15th of May, and he notes 
another significant period; for he adds that fifteen days after he 
arrived there Alcaraz came in. Since he and this Alcade had had 
some such hot words out in the mountains, it is not very likely that 
Cabeza stayed longer, and he thus probably reached Culiacan about 
May the first. As they were at Corazones three days, according to 
our estimate, they would therefore have arrived at that village 
fifty-six days earlier, or, say, the fifth of March. Now let us see 
how long it probably took them to come to Corazones from where 
they first reached the Rio Grande. First, Cabeza's two seventeens 
and Oviedo's fifteen plus more than twenty amount to much the 
same say, thirty-five days. The next stage is a matter of leagues 
Cabeza's more than one hundred, and Oviedo's eighty. Let us 
say an average of ninety. To go this loiteringly, as Oviedo im- 
plies, would take fifteen days of actual travel. Since, according 
to Oviedo, the villages were, on an average, two and a half days 
apart, there would be five of these (Corazones' making the sixth) ; 
and, since also he says that they rested at each of these two or 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 337 

three days, they would consume another twelve days in that man- 
ner. Hence here would be sixty-two days in all back of March the 
5th, or it would have been January 2nd when they started up the Rio 
Grande. Three days before this date they struck the lower per- 
manent houses. Cabeza was right. He was there in January, 
and four months of his ten lay yet to the westward of that place. 
His start from the Avavares was, therefore, six months back, or 
on the first of July. He and Oviedo are each wrong a month in the 
start, each wrong on a different side of the true date. 

It may be seen that if Oviedo's account needs fifty-three days 
from Corazones to Culiacan, and eight months back from the 
former place to the Iron Region, there would be left only about 
five days to go from the Avavares to the "beautiful river." We 
have seen that about thirty-six were actually traveled they were 
at least a month, anyway. This is the month that Oviedo's account 
is in error. As his time back from the first of January on the 
Rio Grande must be the same six months of Cabeza, we can easily 
see that he was only seven, instead of eight, months "in the moun- 
tains" (from the "beautiful river" to Corazones) erring here also 
and that he started from the Avavares the first of July instead 
of August. 

(5) The Time of the Tunas. If Cabeza went to the Avavares, 
the first time, at the middle of September, as he says 1 (since he 
notes that it was at the full of a moon that was new on the first), 
his subsequent wanderings with them to another tribe before they 
settled perhaps a half month at least and his later visit to the 
Cultalchulches and Susolas, some distance off, may have brought 
the first of November before they all went into permanent winter 
quarters. The Susolas were old acquaintances, whom he had met 
at the river of nuts, and he may have lingered among them awhile. 
Oviedo's phrase, "por otubre" through October is significant 
here, and, under the circumstances, is to be heeded before his 
other phrase for the time of wintering, "from October the first 
to August the first." It becomes the basis for Cabeza's eight 
months' stay. Eight months from the first of November would 
reach to the first of July, which accords well with the date deduced 
from considering Cabeza's dates at the other stages of the journey. 

P. 96. 

338 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

It must be recalled that Cabeza sets no date for the departure. 
He simply says that when he escaped the first time, and went to 
the Avavares, "it was late in the season, and the fruits of the tunas 
were giving out." If they had been abundant for fifty days back 
(the average of the duration of them, "forty to sixty" days given 
by Oviedo) they would have begun to ripen this year about the 
25th of July. This would tend to confirm Oviedo's statement that 
they ripen about the first of August; and in this case they would 
still last six weeks, since Cabeza says they went to these neighbors 
avares to get more tunas. At the time of starting from 
lere for the final journey the next year, Cabeza says that at the 
end of the eight months "the tunas began to ripen"; but there 
appears to have elapsed at least half a month wherein they went 
to the Maliacones and ate "a small fruit of some trees," and two 
dogs were eaten with the Arbadaos until the tunas were fully ripe. 
In fact, if we except the note of Oviedo about seeing some tunas 
that were green and some others that were beginning to ripen only 
a day after the start, there is no evidence from these narratives 
that they ate ripe tunas or even heard of any till they were two 
days beyond where they first saw mountains. This was about 
twenty-five days after the start say July 25th, justifying Oviedo's 
ripening time and Cabeza's starting date. It is almost convincing 
local evidence of Oviedo's error, and confirms the first of July as 
the approximate period for the beginning of this great journey of 
ten' months. 

Based on this, the approximate dates for the more important 
points on the way would be as follows: 

Start to the Avavares, September 15, 1534. 

Start on journey next year, July 1, 1535. 

At big river, like Guadalquiver (about), July 20, 1535. 

First sight of mountains, July 23, 1535. 

Cabeza's inland turn, July 27, 1535. 

Over Cabeza's iron mountain, August 4, 1535. 

Oviedo's entrance into sierras at fifty leagues from the inland 
turn (say eight days), August 5, 1535. 

At the Rio Grande, December 27, 1535. 

Crossing of the Rio Grande (about), January 14, 1536. 

First maize and good houses in the West, February 6, 1536. 

At Corazones, March 5, 1536. 

A Study of the Route of Cabeza De Vaca. 339 

Departure from Corazones, March 8, 1536. 

At the Yaqui, March 12-27, 1536. 

At Culiacan, May 1, 1536. 

At Mexico [Tello], July 22, 1 1536. 

The foregoing study does not assume to be definitive, except in 
the location of Mal-Hado at the start, the region of the coastal 
journey, and that portion up the Eio Grande. In many respects 
it does not pretend to originality. It is merely intended to look 
over the ground somewhat thoroughly and present the case in a sug- 
gestive manner, in the hope that others, whose advantages may be 
greater, shall take up special local features and elucidate them. 
It is to be desired that this may occur, and that any errors of this 
paper may be eliminated. 

My gratitude goes out to my helpers who have been many 
especially to the members of the faculty of the University of Texas 
and to officers of the Texas Historical Association. Without their 
aid this paper could not have been what it is. To Mr. Alexander 
Deussen and Professors William L. Bray and Herbert E. Bolton, 
I am especially indebted. I have had many favors from Mr. 
Luther E. Widen, business manager of the Texas Historical Asso- 
ciation, and Professor George P. Garrison, secretary and librarian 
of the Association and editor of THE QUARTEBLY. In like man- 
ner, Dr. Eeuben G. Thwaites, of the Wisconsin Historical Society, 
Mr. F. M. Crunden, of the Public Library, and Mr. L. K. Gifford, 
of the Mercantile, both of St. Louis, Mr. George P. Winship, of 
the Carter-Brown Library at Providence, Mr. John Vance Chey- 
ney, of the Newberry Library, Chicago, and especially his assistant, 
Mr. Merrill, Miss Mary Louise Dalton of the Missouri Historical 
Society, and Miss Grace King of the Howard Library, New Or- 
leans, Drs. William Trelease and Hermann Von Schrenk, of the 
Missouri Botanical Gardens, have all rendered valuable aid. I 
have availed myself of much of the ethnological investigations of 
Frederic W. Hodge, of the Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, also 
editor of The American Anthropologist, and have had personal 
suggestions from this eminent student. As noted, Dr. F. H. 
Knowlton and Dr. J. N. Bose kindly identified the Sonora poison 
for me. 

^abeza's "the day before the vespers of St. James" (July 25th) would 
seem to place this date a day or so later. 

340 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

It may add a slight interest in the sincerity of this study, if I 
confess that my investigations have frequently reversed strong im- 
pressions held hy me before, and some time after, beginning this 

Martin McHenry Kenney. 341 



The grandfather of Captain Kenney emigrated from Ireland to 
Pennsylvania about the end of the eighteenth century. One of his 
sons, John Wesley Kenney, removed to Kentucky and married 
there. Later he moved to Illinois and settled on the bank of. the 
Mississippi about fifteen miles above Rock Island, at that time a 
very thinly settled region. Here was born his son, Martin Mc- 
Henry Kenney, on December 11, 1831. 

When the Black Hawk War broke out the family took refuge in 
a frontier fort, while the father served in the army until the strug- 
gle was over. The home having been destroyed in the meantime, 
they now went back to Kentucky. Here in the late summer of 
1833 the cholera broke out. The family fled to the mountains, 
and in October began the long journey to Texas. 

On December 17, 1833, they landed on the west bank of the 
Brazos where the elder Kenney built the first cabin in what was 
later the town of Washington. The next year he was granted a 
headright league as a member of Austin's colony and removed to 
Austin County, ten miles south of Brenham. Here young Kenney 
grew to manhood. He attended such schools as the country af- 
forded, the earliest being the first public school in Texas, but 
received the greater part of his instruction from his mother, who 
was a well educated woman. In 1848 he attended for a short time 
the McKenzie College at Clarksville until an attack of typhoid 
fever forced him to withdraw. 

Two years later he began his wanderings with a trip to Mexico 
"to see the world." For a few months he was county clerk at 
Laredo, and then in 1851 he set out with a party of adventurous 
gold-seekers for California. After several years of futile search 
for a fortune in the mining regions, he returned to Texas in 1856, 
and settled in Goliad, where he became county surveyor. When the 
Civil War broke out he volunteered and was made captain of Com- 
pany K, 21st Texas Cavalry, and served in that capacity until he 
was honorably discharged at its close. Immediately thereafter he 

342 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

went to Mexico and thence to Central America, where he engaged 
in the shipping of mahogany timber. Moving on again, he went 
to South America, where he traveled about for a couple of years, 
chiefly in the Argentine Republic. In 1869 he returned to his 
mother's home in Texas. Shortly afterwards he joined the force 
of the Texas Rangers and served with them for some time. 

In February, 1877, he married Miss Annie Matthews of Chappell 
Hill, Texas. They removed to Bellville, where they lived for four- 
teen years. Here Captain Kenney took up his old business of sur- 
veyor, and practiced law. In 1892 he was elected to the Legisla- 
ture from Austin County, and served for two terms. 

In July, 1895, he was appointed Spanish translator in the Gen- 
eral Land Office at Austin. His long acquaintance with the land 
system of Texas and his proficiency in the Spanish language en- 
abled him to perform his duties in a highly creditable manner, 
while his energy, punctuality, and conscientious attention to all 
details inspired the fullest confidence of the officials of the State. 
Because of the intricacies and confusion of the Texas land system 
and the consequent necessity of obtaining accurate translations of 
the Spanish and Mexican documents, land grants, deeds, etc., Cap- 
tain Kenney's work here was of the greatest importance to the 
State. It proved to be his final labor, for with the exception of a 
little more than a year, 1899-1900, he filled this position until 
shortly before his death. In 1901 he was stricken with paralysis, 
losing the use of his right hand. With indomitable will he re- 
mained at his post, but his strength gradually failed and he died, 
February 8, 1907. 

Throughout his life Captain Kenney exhibited those stalwart 
qualities of mind and character that enabled his fellow pioneers to 
conquer the wilderness. He had seen the little band of colonists 
under Austin grow into a nation and then into a mighty State of the 
Union ; he had attended the first log-cabin school in the wild fron- 
tier, and had lived to see his own children attending a University 
in the same land; and he was interested in all that pertained to 
the development of the State. One of the earliest members of the 
Texas State Historical Association, he maintained an active in- 
terest in its affairs until his death. 

A Letter from Mary [Mrs. Moses] Austin. 343 


The writer of the letter given below, Mary, widow of Moses, and 
mother of Stephen F. Austin, had a remarkable life and was de- 
scended from remarkable people. She was born January 1, 1768, at 
Sharpsborough Upper Forge (one of the iron mines of her grand- 
father Sharp) in the mountains of New Jersey; married (Septem- 
ber 28, 1785, in Christ Church, Philadelphia where her grand- 
mother and great-grandmother had been married before her) 
Moses Austin, of Durham, Connecticut, and went with him to 
Richmond, Virginia, thence to the lead mines in the wilderness 
of Wythe county, and finally, in 1798, to Missouri, where she 
lived until her death January 8, 1824 with the exception of 
about eighteen months spent among her relatives in the East 
while her daughter was in school in New York. The letters she 
wrote her husband during this time are most interesting. 

The father of Mary Austin, Abia Brown, was a prominent man 
in his community, being justice of the peace of Sussex county 
(an office at that time 1772 corresponding in dignity with 
justice of the supreme court now) ; member of the council of 
safety during the war; deputy from Sussex in attendance at the 
Provincial Congress at Trenton (October, 1775); and deputy in 
attendance at the Provincial Congress at New Brunswick (Jan- 
uary-March, 1776). He died in 1785 when only forty-two. His 
wife, Margaret, was the daughter of Mary Coleman and Joseph 
Sharp; thus uniting in her veins the blood of those two prime 
movers of the Quaker migration to America, Anthony Sharp and 
Robert Turner, both prosperous English merchants of Dublin, 
Ireland, and, next to William Penn, the richest and most prom- 
inent men who helped to found the colonies of New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania. Of them Judge Clement says, in his History of 
the Settlement of Newton (New Jersey), "Anthony Sharp and 
Robert Turner, both Quakers, and both men of fortune, were the 
guides in this, and not only gave their advice as to the details 
of the movement, but also covered the doubtful points by con- 
tributions of their means." They both suffered persecution and 
imprisonment in England and Ireland for conscience's sake; and 

344 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

great pecuniary loss through unjust fines and through destruc- 
tion of property by mobs. 

Anthony Sharp never came to America, but sent out, first, his 
nephew Thomas Sharp (in 1681) to look after his large landed 
interests in East and West Jersey and be his personal representa- 
tive in the Council of Proprietors; and (in 1701) his eldest son 
Isaac (just come of age), who, besides being member of the Coun- 
cil of Proprietors, served as judge of Salem court (1709-17), 
surrogate of Salem county (1712), and member of the Assembly 
(1709-21). Isaac Sharp's son Joseph married (February 12, 
1743) Mary Coleman, great-granddaughter of Kobert Turner, 
the man who, next to William Penn, put most brain, effort and 
money into the foundation of Pennsylvania. 

Eobert Turner arrived at Philadelphia on the Lion of Liver- 
pool, October 14, 1683, with his two motherless daughters, Martha 
and Mary, and seventeen indentured servants; filled successively 
almost every office of importance in the colony; and gave to its 
upbuilding the best that was in him to the time of his death, in 
1700. An intimate friend and counselor of William Penn in 
the over-sea planning of the colony, Eobert Turner was ever 
his dependence and often his personal representative in Penn- 
sylvania; for William Penn spent but four years in America 
two from 1682 to 1684 and two more from 1699 to 1701 and 
so his representatives had their hands full. In Pennsylvania 
Eobert Turner held the offices of provincial judge, deputy gov- 
ernor, commissioner of property, member of governor's council, 
receiver general for properties, and register general ; and in New 
Jersey, although a non-resident, he was one of the twenty-four 
proprietors to whom the Duke of York released East Jersey, and 
was a member of both the assembly and governor's council of 
West Jersey and justice of Burlington county which meant 
member of the quarter sessions, special, common pleas, and gen- 
eral courts, court of errors, and at a later date the supreme 

The first brick house in Philadelphia was built by Eobert Turner 
as a model for others; and, when its place was demanded by 
trade conditions of this day, in the spring of 1906, it and his 
second house, built in 1685, withstood all onslaughts of pick and 

A Letter from Mary [Mrs. Moses] Austin. 345 

sledge, and yielded only to dynamite. The brick and mortar 
had become one unyielding mass. A description of his second 
house is given in a letter written by Turner to William Perm in 
1685, which was formerly in the possession of the Pennsylvania 
Historical Society. Fortunately a copy of the letter exists, and 
also a picture of the houses, in Watson's Annals. 1 


Herculaneum July the 28 1821. 
Dear Couzen 

I wrote you a long letter in the month of December last, as 
near as I can recollect, giving you a detaild account of my dear 
Husband's misfortunes in consequence of the failure of the St. 
Louis bank together with a number of heavy losses he had sus- 
taind by being security and unfortunate shipments he had made. 
Finding his business in a very embarrast situation and the times 
very hard he gave up all his property to men he thought would 
do him justice and let no one suffer, and went to the province of 
Texas in Spain to see if he could do anything to advantage in 
that country. His encouragement from the government surpast 
his most sanguine expectations and after an absence of ten 
months he returned home, but finding his confidence had been 
abused and he deceived by those in whose hands he had placed 
his property, he arranged his affairs in haste and intended start- 
ing to Texas in May, accompanyd by a number of respectable 
men, who had embarked with him in this great enterprise but 
oh my friend marck the uncertainty of everything in this vale 
of tears a few days previous to his departure he was attacked 
with a violent Inflammation of the Lungs and was so severe as 
to baffel the power of medicine and the skill of the best Physi- 
cians in this Country and terminated his life on the 10 of June. 

My distress and trouble has been greater than my pen can de- 
scribe. I endeavor to bear this afflicting dispensation of provi- 
dence with that resignation we owe to the will of heaven and 
blessed with the dear pledges of affection left behind. I shall 
for their sake exert myself to bear this inroad upon my happi- 
ness with the fortitude necessary to sustain it. God still tem- 

ir rhese facts concerning the genealogy of Mary Austin are gathered from 
family letters and records, documents in possession of the Pennsylvania 
Historical Society, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Archives, and from the 
manuscript volume in the library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, 
entitled, "Sharpe, of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Kingdom of England: 
Round-wood in the Queen's County, Kingdom of Ireland: Salem, Province 
of West New Jersey. 1642-1895." L. B. P. 

346 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

pers the wind to the shorn lamb it tis the cup of affliction that 
chastens, and brightens the pearls scattered before us here and 
sometimes prepares us for that hereafter, where the weary are at 
rest and the wicked cease from troubling. 

I am 'sorry to inform you my family is reduced from a state 
of affluence to a state of poverty and I cannot in Justice to my- 
self and children give up what is due from T. E and C. 

A At the time they requested me to give up my share 

of the back rents my dear Husband was in affluence and I never 
expected to want a dollar. I am now dependent upon my son 
in law, my son S. F. Austin is in Texas waiting the arrival of 
his father and it will be long before he can know the great loss 
he has met with, my son James B. A. went to Lexington three 
years ago to finish his education and such has been my distressed 
situation and the great difficulty of getting money, it was not 
in my power to make him a remittance during the long absence 
of his Father. It was on his account I requested you to collect 
my share of the rent and sent it on in post notes or the U. S. 
paper receiving no answer to my letter I concluded it never 
reached you and his father intended sending him money from 
New Orleins and I have no recourse left but getting the money 

from T. K It tis painful to my feelings to demand it as 

I once gave him reason to think I had given it up. Be assured 
my good friend nothing but necessity has induced me to trouble 
you again with this business it will add to the numerous obli- 
gations I am. already under to you and my much esteemd friend 
Mrs. Sharp. Present my affectionate regards to her I know 
her friendly heart will simpathize with me in my sorrows. Tell 
her it would give me much pleasure to hear from her and all old 

Pardon the incorrectness of this hasty scrall the mail is closing 
and I must put an end to this ill wrote letter. I left my Daugh- 
ter well a few days ago. She has three fine sons 1 were she here 
ehe would join me in best wishes for your health & Happiness. 
I am your sincere friend 

M. Austin. 2 

1 William Joel, Moses Austin, and Guy M. Bryan. 

a On the back of the letter are the following address and endorsements: 

"Herculaneum ) 25 
July 27 \ 

! Edward Sharp Esquire 
State of New Jersey 
Received Aug. 25th, 1821." 

A Letter from the Army of the Early Republic. 347 


Joshua H. Davis, the writer of the letter given below, was born 
in Poplar Town, Worcester County, Maryland, March 5, 1792. 
He was the son of John and Mary (Hodge) Davis. In 1812 he 
emigrated to Kentucky, and in the fall of 1836 he came to Texas ; 
where, however, he did not finally establish his residence till 1845. 
He died February 26, 1862. 

The facts of this sketch have been furnished by Major Davis's 
daughter, Miss Texas J. Davis, of Cuero, Texas, in whose posses- 
sion is the original of the letter. 

Camp Bowie May 31 1837 
My Dear 

I have written you a number of Letters with much pleasure and 
satisfaction. Hoping at the same time to have the same sentiment 
reciprocated. But how it is I do not know. The Truth is I have 
received only one Letter That from Willis dated the 9th of 
March. We have a mail once every week from the City of Hous- 
ton to the Camp. With what anxiety I watch the opening of every 
mail can be easier guessed than described. However great my 
anxiety I receive no Letters I am in hopes you are not so unfor- 
tunate in the reception of mine 

In the Last I wrote I think I spoke of the murder of Col Teal 
Since that time to the present The Army has been quiet Feeding 
on Bull beef for so Long a time the Animal will occasionally rise 
and Bellow out The officers have then to do their duty and Bring 
the soldiers back to their duty and all is over. 

The Secretary of War is now in Camp. He intends to Fur- 
lough all Except One Regiment and 4 companies of the Regu- 
lars Subject to being called in Camp when it may be thought 

No Enemy is expected in Texas this summer I have some 
notion to request the Secretary to give me a Furlow with time 
enough to go home and return But I am told by my friends it 
will be unnecessary As the officers of our Regiment are situ [a] ted 
to remain in the Army. Take care of the Public property and dis- 
cipline the Troops etc And I may add eat Bull Beef. Oh what 
fun we do have eating Beef Boiled Stewed Baked and Roasted 
Notwithstanding the fare we are fat raged and saucy and feel as 
if we could whip our weight in Wild Cats And five times our weight 
in Mexicans. 

We will move our camp Shortly 15 or 20 miles west of this 

348 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Where we will remain 2 or 3 months. I am informed the water is 
good and the site fine and healthy I have not seen any more of 
the Country than when I last wrote having been confined entirely 
to duty in camp But expect shortly to have it in my power to 
Travel about more. 

Congress is still in Session but what they are doing I know 
not We Seldom receive any newspaper from Houston City But 
are afraid the Land office under the old Law will not be opened 
Consequently no Land can be taken up by Emigrant setlers. But 
they can purchase the best and Pretiest land in the world from 
old Setlers and titles good, very Low indeed. I would advise per- 
sons who have any notion of Living in the most Lovely country in 
the world to come see and buy Land What I am going to do I 
can not with any certainty say. But I do expect to put up a 
Small House or Shantee on Mo 90 on Broadway Street in the 
Town of Texana. If I can make things work right Since I have 
been writing this I have been informed that the senate of Texas 
did not confirm the appointment of the Secretary at War conse- 
quently his Power in the Army ceases. But the Furlowing will 
progress as that was made when he was in power He was rejected 
on constitutional objections Col Wiggenton is the oldest officer 
in the Field. Consequently He is at this time Commander of the 
Texian Armies So we go There is many ups and downs in this 
life I am in hopes the ups will hereafter have the Ascendant 
With Sentiments of much respect and esteem I conclude by signing 
etc yours affectionately 

J H Davis 

Direct your Letters [to] me at the Head Quarters of the Texian 
Army Care of Toby & Brothers New 0[r] learns 
Jones is afflicted with the Hyppo. badly. 1 

sentence is written on the margin of the third page. 

Boole Reviews and Notices. 349 


Among other documents lately received by the librarian of the 
Association is a reprint made by A. Turner of Houston's official 
report of the battle of San Jacinto (pp. 16). Although undated, 
it seems to have been published at Gonazles in 1874. It is the gift 
of Mrs. Julia Miller, of Gonzales. 

Mr. Lawrence S. Taylor,, of Nacogdoches, sends the Association 
an interesting pamphlet entitled A History of the Action of the 
Political and Civil authorities and citizens relating to the land 
office at Nacogdoches, under the jurisdiction of Charles 8. Taylor, 
Commissioner appointed by the Government of Coahuila and Texas 
(Nacogdoches, Carra way's Print, 1901, pp. 14). This pamphlet 
contains copies of a number of documents the originals of which 
are in the custody of Mr. Lawrence S. Taylor, son of Charles S. 
Taylor, and which were published to serve as evidence of Mr. 
Charles S. Taylor's appointment as land commissioner, and of his 
official record in that capacity. It is of special interest in that it 
contains a half-tone engraving of Mr. Charles S. Taylor. Along 
with other matter, it contains also a list of 176 titles issued by 

Reconstruction and the Ku Klux Klan, by T. W. Gregory, a 
paper read before. the Arkansas and Texas Bar Associations, July 
10, 1906 (privately printed, pp. 22), is a forceful and suggestive 
essay in which the raison d'etre of the Klan, the good it accom- 
plished, its abuses, and its unhappy results are alike set forth in 
frank and impressive statement. It is based partly upon the 
author's personal recollections and partly on the historical litera- 
ture of the subject, especially "The Ku Klux Klan," by D. L. Wil- 
son, in the Century for July, 1884, and "The Ku Klux Move- 
ment," by William Garrott Brown, in the Atlantic for May, 1901. 
This pamphlet is heartily recommended to all readers of THE 
QUARTERLY who wish to understand the subject with which it 

350 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

Lee's Centennial, an address delivered by Charles Francis Adams 
at Washington and Lee University, January 19, 1907 (Boston 
and New York, Hough ton, Mifflin and Company, 1907, pp. 76), is 
an additional bit of the evidence now appearing from time to time 
that the North and South are at last beginning to understand each 
other and to appreciate the real difficulties and problems that were 
created for the honest and conscientious leaders on both sides by 
sectionalization due to slavery and by the Civil War. Written by 
a man who served in the Union army throughout the war and who 
has no apology to offer for having done so, it is at once an unan- 
swerable vindication of Lee and a most magnificent tribute to his 
achievements and his character. "As to Robert E. Lee, individ- 
ually," SP.VS Mr. Adams, "I can only repeat what I have already 
said, if in all respects similarly circumstanced, I hope I should 
have been filial and unselfish enough to have done as Lee did" (p. 
21). Further on he uses still stronger words: "Speaking ad- 
visedly and on full reflection, I say that of all the great characters 
of the Civil War, and it was productive of many whose names and 
deeds posterity will long bear in recollection, there was not one 
who passed away in the serene atmosphere and with the gracious 
bearing of Lee" (p. 57). More than this, it would be difficult to 

Margaret Ballentine or the Fall of the Alamo: A Romance of 
the Texas Revolution. By Frank Templeton. Published by the 
Author. Houston, Texas. 1907. Pp. 244. 

Ramrod Jones, Hunter and Patriot: A Tale of the Texas Revo- 
lution against Mexico. By Clinton Giddings Brown. The Saal- 
field Publishing Company. New York and Chicago. Pp. 321. 

The avowed purpose of the first book is "to pay a deserved trib- 
ute to the men who fell at the Alamo." "The many episodes that 
go to make up the -story are strung upon the golden chord of love," 
and the author says that he will feel repaid for his labor if the vol- 
ume serves "to keep alive the spirit of patriotism among our peo- 
ple, and to lighten the labors of the Daughters of the Texas Repub- 
lic in perpetuating the glorious deeds of our ancestors." Mr. 
Templeton shows some evidence of ability to write serious history, 
and his knowledge of the period of the Texas Revolution is con- 
siderable, but he has not achieved a very happy result in the field 

Boole Reviews and Notices. 351 

of romance. The illustrations are poor, but one of them is of 
great historical interest : it purports to be a sketch of W. B. Travis 
made by Wyly Martin in December, 1835. If it was really made 
at that time, it gives us the only pretended likeness of the most 
heroic man that has figured in Texas history. 

Ramrod Jones is a story for boys. It is written with some skill, 
and is mildly entertaining. It keeps close to the historical facts 
of the Texas Revolution, but has no didactic object. 

The Story of Concord. Told by Concord Writers. Edited by 
Josephine Latham Swayne. (Boston : The E. F. Worcester 
Press. 1906. Pp. 314-fviii.) 

Every tourist to New England makes a point of visiting Con- 
cord, Massachusetts, one of the most interesting small towns of 
America. There was fought one of the first battles of the Ameri- 
can Revolution. There are still to be found the home and the 
family of Emerson, whose towering personality dominated for so 
long the intellectual atmosphere of New England, and whose in- 
fluence is felt strongly today. To others the vicinity of Concord 
has been made hallowed ground through the writings of the nat- 
uralist Thoreau, who, keenly sensitive to the beauties around him, 
apparently knew every foot of the landscape, and every inhabitant 
of the land, the water, and the air about his haunts. The Haw- 
thornes, the Alcotts, and many lesser lights in literature shared the 
society of Emerson and Thoreau, influencing them and feeling 
their influence. 

In the volume under review Mrs. Swayne has not attempted to 
form a continuous narrative concerning the town and its many 
heroes. What she has done shows so much labor and care that one 
regrets that she did not make a book of that kind and give it a 
definite literary form. Instead she has culled from the writings 
of certain citizens or quasi-citizens of Concord, numerous lengthy 
comments on the town and its famous characters. So in the chap- 
ter, "Concord in History," we have copious extracts from a cen- 
tennial address delivered by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1835. In 
the following chapter, "Concord in Literature," Emerson's charac- 
ter is portrayed by F. B. Sanborn, George William Curtis, and 
Julian Hawthorne. Mr. Sanborn and Dr. W. T. Harris are quoted 

352 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 

concerning the Alcott family; Emerson and Channing, in the dis- 
cussion of Thoreau, and so on. Thus the separate chapters even 
are not unified. 

The advantage of Mrs. Swayne's method of compilation is that 
the book seems a real transcript from life since almost every writer 
is describing the daily habits of an intimate friend, or some his- 
torical event of which he was an eye-witness. Thus we read in one 
of those numerous footnotes which add great value to the book: 
" 'Henry talks about Nature just as if she'd been born and brought 
up in Concord/ said Madam Hoar of Thoreau." Again from 
Louisa Alcotfs journal, dated February, 1861, comes a charming 
picture of the simple village life at that time, when her father, 
Amos Bronson Alcott, was superintendent of the Concord public 
schools : "Father had. his usual school festival, and Emerson asked 
me to write a song, which I did. On the 16th, the schools all met 
in the hall (four hundred), a pretty posy bed, with a border of 
proud parents and friends. Some of the fogies objected to the 
names, Phillips and John Brown. But Emerson said: 'Give it 
up ? No, no ; I will read it.' Which he did, to my great content- 
ment; for when the great man of the town says 'Do it,' the thing 
is done. So the choir warbled, and the Alcotts were lifted up in 
their vain minds." 

The typographical work of the volume has not been done so well 
as the editing. In the copy at hand, pp. vii and viii of the index, 
with the accompanying advertising page, are duplicated. Mis- 
prints also, such as, "Cival" for "Civil," p. 26 ; "inhabitants" for 
"inhabitants," p. 36; "ryhthms" for "rhythms," p. 200, are en- 
tirely too frequent throughout the book. On the other hand, the 
numerous illustrations, chiefly half-tone engravings of Concord 
worthies and scenes in that vicinity are beautiful those of the 
typical New England homes and landscapes being particularly rest- 
ful to the eye. The volume closes with a complete index. 


Questions and Answers. 353 


The editor has received the following letter, which will explain 
itself. The work on which Mr. Ldmax is engaged is commended 
to the readers of THE QUARTERLY, who are urged to give him any 
help they can in completing the collection he has undertaken. 


DEAR PROFESSOR GARRISON : J am endeavoring to make a com- 
plete collection of the native songs and ballads of the West. Many 
of these ballads have never been in print, but, like the Masonic 
Ritual, are handed down from one generation to another by "word 
of mouth." They deal mainly with frontier experiences : the deeds 
of desperadoes like Jesse James and Sam Bass ; the life of the ran- 
ger in camp and on the scout ; the story of the cowboy on the range, 
the round-up and going up the trail ; the trials of the Forty-niners, 
buffalo hunters, miners, stage drivers, Indian fighters, and freight- 
ers in short, they are attempts, often crude and sometimes vulgar, 
to epitomize and particularize the life of the pioneers who peopled 
the vast region west of the Mississippi river. 

I believe a notice from you in the columns of THE QUARTERLY 
will result in valuable material for my purpose which is to pre- 
serve from extinction this expression of American letters. May 
I add that ballads, and the like, which because of crudity, incom- 
pleteness, coarseness, or for any other reason are unavailable for 
publication, will be as interesting and as useful as others of more 
merit. It is my desire to collect the songs and ballads now or 
lately in actual existence and in the precise form which they have 
popularly assumed. 

Yours sincerely, 

College Station, Texas. 

354 Texas Historical Association Quarterly. 


The tenth annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Associ- 
ation was held at the University of Texas on the afternoon of 
March 2, 1907. At the Council meeting reports of the Recording 
Secretary and Librarian and of the Treasurer were read, showing 
substantial increase in books, documents, and funds. A new sys- 
tem of bookkeeping and auditing was adopted. 

At the public session papers were read by Professor H. E. Bolton 
and Chas. W. Eamsdell, entitled, respectively, "The Hasinai In- 
dians of East Texas at the Coming of the Spaniards," and "Texas 
During the Break-Up of the Confederacy." After the reading of 
these papers, Judge A. W. Terrell favored the audience with some 
interesting reminiscences, chiefly of General Sam Houston. 

At the conclusion of the program the following officers were 
elected for the ensuing year : 

Dr. David F. Houston, President; Judge A. W. Terrell, Aus- 
tin, First Vice-President ; Beauregard Bryan, El Paso, Second 
Vice-President ; R. L. Batts, Austin, Third Vice-President; 
Dr. Milton J. Bliem, San Antonio, Fourth Vice-President; 
Chas. W. Ramsdell, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. Pro- 
fessor H. E. Bolton was selected as the Fellow to serve on the Ex- 
ecutive Council for the term ending 1910 ; Mrs. Dora Fowler Arthur 
was chosen as the Member to serve on the Council for the term 
ending 1912. Professor H. E. Bolton was continued as business 
manager, with Luther E. Widen as his assistant. 

At a meeting of the Fellows, which was held immediately after 
the adjournment of the Association, Dr. W. J. Battle was elected 
to fill the vacancy on the Publication Committee caused by the 
death of State Librarian C. W. Raines. 

The attendance at this meeting of the Association was the largest 
in its history. Aware of the widespread and growing interest in its 
affairs, the officers will endeavor to make this annual session more 
attractive to the public, without in any way surrendering the criti- 
cal and technical character of the program. Since it is always held 
on the anniversary of Texas Independence, when there is a cele- 
bration of that event by the students of the University of Texas, it 
is believed that the Association meeting may find a place as one of 
the regular and most instructive features of the day. 


Adams, Wirt, formation of cavalry regiment 286 

Affairs of the Association 103-109, 354 

Aguayo, San Miguel de, 13, 116 

Aguayo, Mission San Jose de, records of 305 

Alarcon, Martin de, defines boundary of Texas 11 

Allcorn, Elijah 97 

Allcorn, John H 97 

Allcorn, J. J 97 

Allcorn, W. E 97 

Allen, A. C., promoter of Houston, Texas 168 

Allen, John K., promoter of Houston, Texas 168 

Allen, Thomas G 97 

Altamira, on the boundary of Texas, 20 

Angelino, Angel, map of Texas 35 

Atkinson, Jesse B 97 

Arthur, Dora Fowler 354 

Austin, Texas, site of the permanent capital, 220; first sale of lots in, 
225; plan of the city, 228; public buildings of, 231; removal of 

the government to 233 

Austin, Henry, offers land for capital site 197, 204 

Austin, Mrs. Moses, letter from 343-47 

Austin, S. F., expressions on the land speculations 88 

Ayers, David 177 

Balantine, James > 98 

Barker. Eugene C., Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolu- 
tion 76-95 

Barr, R., offers land at Tenoxtitlan for capital site 197 

Barnett, G. W 97, 198 

Barrett, D. C 144 

Barrios y Jauregui, Jacinto de, fosters trade with French in Louis- 
iana 21 

Baskett, James Newton, A. Study of the Route of Cabeza de Vaca, 

246-79, 308-40 

Bastrop, Baron de 140 

Battle, W. J 354 

Battle of Nueces, a pamphlet by John W. Sansom 110 

Batts, R. L 354 

Beales, Hiram 97 

Bean, P. E 59 

Benavides, Alonso 3 

Beranger, exploration of Texas coast 12 

ii Index. 

Biedma 323 

Bird, Ollie, The First Free Public School Building Erected in Texas, 

review of 101-102 

Black, J. W., offers land at Sulphur Springs for capital site 197 

Blancpain, French trader 21, 22 

Bliem, Milton J 354 

Blount, William, designs on Louisiana 65 

Bolton, Herbert E., on the name of Father Massanet, 101; The Found- 
ing of Mission Rosario: A Chapter in the History of the Gulf 
Coast, 113-139, 249; Spanish Mission Records at San Antonio 

297-307; 324, 339, 350 

Book Reviews and Notices 110, 183, 280, 349 

Borden, Thomas H., 163; offers land for capital site 200 

Bowie, James, land speculations 77, 88 

Bray, William L , 324, 339 

Bryan, Beauregard 354 

Bucareli, founding of 31 

Bunton, J. W 191 

Burleson, Aaron 217 

Burnet, D. G., opinion on land speculations 83 

Burton, I. W 215 

Byars, Noah T , 98 

Casas, Brother Antonio 137 

Cadillac, de la Mothe de, attempts to open trade with Mexico 8 

Camberos, Father Juan de Dios, plan for conversion of Cu janes In- 
dians 128 

Campbell, Isaac 215 

Capital of Texas, choosing a permanent site for, 188; report of first 
commissioners,, 191; sites proposed, 197; report of second com- 
missioners, 199-292; report of joint committee thereon, 203-4; 

report of third commissioners 216-20 

Carondelet, Baron de, commissions Philip Nolan 55 

Cartwright, Jesse, offers land for capital site 202 

Chambers, Talbot, land commissioner of Robertson's Colony 86, 97 

Chambers, Thomas J., prevents land frauds in 1834, 79; offers land for 

capital site 197 

Chanie, J. B 97 

Cheney, John Vance 339 

Cheney, W. P 285 

Chisholm, John D., designs on Louisiana 65 

Chriesman, Horatio, 97, 191; offers land for capital site 197 

Clampitt, Francis W 97 

Clark, Daniel 56 

Clark, James 97 

Clow, Robert J 98 

Index. iii 

Cocos, see Indians. 

Collard, E 145 

Coles, John P 97, 99 

Collot, Victor, reconnaissance of Mississippi Valley 64-65 

Concepci6n, Nuestra Senora de la Purlssima, mission of, 298; records 

of 304 

Concord, the Story of 351 

Connelly, Isaac 98 

Connor, John W 97 

Cooke, L. P 215 

Cooper, Alfred M 97 

Coopwood, Bethel 329-33 

Copanes, see Indians. 

Copenhavn, William 98 

Cortablan, French trader 22 

Cox, I. J., The Louisiana-Texas Frontier 1-75 

Croix, Cabellero de, inspection of Texas 33, 36 

Crunden, F. M 339 

Crozat, Antoine, grant to Louisiana, 8; succeeded by the Western 

Company 11 

Cujanes, see Indians. 

Cummins, M 97 

Cureton, C. M. and H. J 280 

Dalton, Louise 339 

Davenport, Samuel, settles at Nacogdoches 60 

Davis, Joshua H. 347 

Davis, Miss Texas J 347 

De Leon, Alonso, destruction of La Salle's forts, 5; establishment of 

missions 6 

De Soto, death at mouth of Red River 322 

Deussen, Alexander 324, 339 

Dillard, Thomas 97 

Dolores, Fray Juan Mariano de los 122, 301 

Du Pratz, le Page, his boundary of Louisiana 20 

Durst, John, land speculation of 82 

Eberle.. Mrs 179 

Eblin, John 199 

Eblin's League, chosen for capital site, but vetoed by President Hous- 
ton 205 

Endicott, Andrew 56 

Escand6n, Jos6 de, Count of Sierra Gordo, plans for subduing the 

Texas Gulf coast 120-22 

Escovar, Father Joseph, pastor of mission Rosario 138 

Espada, mission San Francisco de la, 298 ; records of 306 

iv Index. 

Espejo, his journel helps determine the route of Cabeza de Vaca 315 

Espinosa, on boundary of Texas 20 

Evans, Moses 98 

Evitt, T. G 97 

Flores, Manuel . , 225 

Forest, Right Rev. Bishop J. 'A 297 

Fulmore, Z. T 283 

Gaines, F. Y 285 

Ganuza ( or Lanuza or Lamuza) , Father 137 

Garcia, Fray Diego Martin 123, 299 

Garcia, Luciano 140 

Garrison, George P., Westward Extension 281 

Gifford, L. R 339 

Gonzales, Fray Juan Joseph 123, 301 

Gonzales, Jos6 19 

Graham, Joshua 97 

Grahams, John 97 

Grant, James, land speculations 85 

Gray, James 98 

Greer, J. A 191 

Gregg, ., offers land for capital site 197 

Gregory, T. W., The Ku Klux Klan 349 

Grimes, Jesse 99, 145 

Gritten, Edward, on land speculations 92 

Groos, Jacob 97 

Guapites, see Indians. 

Guthrie, John F 97 

Hadley, Joshua 99 

Hall, John W., 99 ; offers land for capitol site 195 

Hall, W. A 97 

Hancock, G. D 217 

Harpe, Bernard de la 11, 12, 15 

Harris, David N 172 

Hawkins, Isaac H 97 

Hearin, R. M 289 

Henrey, Samuel 98 

Herrall, J. W. . 217 

Hill, William W 97 

Hodge, F. W 320, 339 

Hood, J. L 145 

Horton, A. C 215 

Houston, Capital of Texas 167 

Houston, David F 354 

Houston, Sam, proposes nullification of fraudulent land grants 93 

Index. v 

Hoxey, Dr. Asa 77, 96, 97, 197 

Hyerbipiamo Indians 299, 300 

Iberville, plan for exploration of Texas 7 

Indians: the Karaiikawa group (Caranguas, Cocoa, Copanes, Cujanes, 
Guapites), 114, 115, 116, 117, 122-28; the Jaranames, 117; the 
Tamiques, 117; tribes mentioned by de Vaca 263-4, 267 

Jack, Patrick C 198 

Jackson, E. D 97 

Jefferson, Thomas 144, 55, 56 

Johnson, A. E. C ". 145 

Johnson, F. W., land speculations 80, 48-86 

Johnston, Albert Sidney, A Glimpse of through the Smoke of Shiloh, 

by J. B. Ulmer 285-96 

Jones, A. H., description of the Texan assault on San Antonio 181-82 

Jones, Lewis 98 

Jones, Oliver, sketch of, by Adele B. Looscan 172-80 

Jones, Rebecca, sketch of, by Ad6le B. Looscan 172-80 

Jones, William C 98 

Karankawa, see Indians. 

Kenney, Martin McHenry, by Chas. W. Ramsdell 341-42 

Kervey, Samuel 98 

Kerr, James 91 

King, Grace 339 

Knowlton, F. H 324, 339 

Kuykendall, Abner 174 

La Fora, map of Texas . . . 35 

Langara, Juan de, map of Texas 35 

Land Speculation as a Cause of the Texas Revolution, by Eugene C. 

Barker 76-95 

La Salle 4-5 

Law, Robert A 354 

Letter from the army of the Early Republic 347-48 

Lewis, William 97 

Livendais, protest against Spanish port on the Trinity 23 

Lomax, John A 353 

Long, W. W 285 

Looscan, AdSle B., Sketch of the Life of Oliver Jones, etc 172-80 

Lopez, Father 137 

Lott, John 98 

Louisiana, boundary, 8, 11 ; cession to United States 72-74 

Lumpkin,' P. O 198 

Lynch, James 

Lyon, Frank 286 

vi Index. 

Mal-Hado, identified as Galveston Island 249, 256-58 

Manlove, B 144 

Margil, Father 11 

Marsh, Shubael 97 

Martin, M. T 98 

Martos y Navarrete, Angel de 24-26 

"Massanet" or "Manzanet"? by Herbert E. Bolton 100 

Masse 1 , a French trader 22 

Mason, John T 79, 81, 92, 94 

Mathe, Nicolas de la 32 

Matthews, Annie 342 

McFarland, Bates H 249 

McGehee, John G 191 

McKinney, Thomas F 78, 93 

Mendoza 331 

Menefee, William 215 

Mercer, Peter M , 98 

Merrill, ., 339 

Mezi&res, Athanase de 30-31 

Milam, B. R 77 

Miller, Julia 349 

Miller, J. B 96 

Miller, Samuel R. 98 

Miller, William H 97 

Millican, E. M 145 

Miranda, Francisco de 42 

Mitchell, Asa 99, 145 

Missions, 6, 10; Adaes, 129; Ais, 129, 131, 132; Candelaria, 119; 
Concepci6n, 298; Luz, 119; Nacogdoches, 129; Rosario, the 
Founding of, 113-39; 132-39; San Antonio de Valero, 298; San 
Francisco Solano, 298; San Francisco de la Espada, 298; San 
Ildefonso, 119; San Jose 1 de Aguayo, 298; San Juan Capistrano, 
298; San Lorenzo, 119; San Saba, 119; San Xavier de Naxera, 
119, 298; Espfritu Santo de Zufiiga; Mission Records at San 

Antonio, by Herbert E. Bolton 297-307 

Money, J. H., offers land for capital site' 197 

Moore, James 97 

Moore, John H., offers land for capital site 202 

Moore, Samuel P 54 

Morff, Augustin de 34 

Moris, S 98 

Morris, Bethel 98 

Mosooso 322 

Mota-Padilla, Matias de la 20 

Murphy, Edward 60 

Index. vii 

Nava, Pedro de, permits Nolan to buy horses in Texas 55 

Newell, John 97 

Newlands, Alexander 84 

Niebling, F., offers land for capital site 197 

Nixon, George A 86 

Nolan, Philip 51 ; 57, 58, 59 

Norwood, Jesse A 292 

Oconor, Hugo 30 

O'Fallon, Dr. James / 44 

O'Reilly, Alexander 27 

Orobio y Basterra, Prudencio de 21,121 

Oviedo, importance of his testimony on the route of de Vaca 246 

Pacheco, Rafael Martin 28 

Padilla, Juan Antonio 77 

Parker, Laura Bryan 343-45 

Payne, Epps D 97^ 

Peebles, Robert 80, 84-86 

Perry, A. G 145 

Perry, James F., offers land for capital site 197, 204 

Pefialosa 4, 5 

Pierson, J. G. W 145 

Piszina, Manuel Ramirez 122 

Ponton, Brownie 249, 327, 328 

Posadas, Father Alonzo 4 

Questions and Answers 353 

Rab, ., offers land for capital site 202 

Raines, C. W 280, 354 

Raines, Emory 198 

Ram6n, Domingo de 10, 116 

Ramsdell, Chas. W., Martin McHenry Kenney 341-42; 354 

Reynolds, A. C '. ... 99 

Richards, Mordecai 59 

Ripperda 39 

Rivera, Pedro de 18 

Roberts, Stephen R 97 

Robertson, Sterling C., offers land for capitol site 197 

Robinson, Baldon 97 

Rodriguez, Juan, chief of the Hyerbipiamo Indians 301 

Rogers, James 217 

Rosario, The Founding of, by Herbert E. Bolton 113-39 

Rose, Dr. J. N 324, 339 

Royall, R. R 147 

viii Index. 

Rubf, Marque's de 29 

Ruffin, Sam 286 

Saint Denis 9, 10, 19, 20 

San Antonio de Valero, mission of 10, 298 

Sandoval 19, 20 

San Felipe de Austin 140, 141, 142-47 

San Francisco Solano, mission of 298, 300 

San Jacinto, reprint of Houston's report of the battle of 348 

San Juan Capistrano, mission of 298, 306 

Santa Ana, Father Benito Francisco de 123, 304 

San Xavier de Naxera, mission of 298 

Saul, Thomas S 98, 99 

Savage, T. J 296 

Schrenk, Herman von 339 

Scurlock, William 191 

Sedano, Brother Francisco 137 

Shiloh, the battle of 290-96 

Simms, Bartlett 174 

Simpson, J. W, 98 

Smyth, George W 86 

Soils, Father 136-9 

Soop, F 97 

Splann, J. M 98 

Stevens, Ashby R 97 

Sutherland, George 198 

Swayne, Josephine Latham 351 

Swisher, James G 97 

Taylor, Charles S 86 

Taylor, Lawrence S 349 

Teran, Domingo de 6 

Terrell, A. W 354 

Texia, name proposed for capital of Texas 

The Louisiana- Texas Frontier, by I. J. Cox 1-75 

The Seat of Government of Texas, by Ernest William Winkler 

'. 140, 171, 185-245 

The Storming of San Antonio 181-82 

Thomas, Isaac 97 

Thompson, John 97 

Thomson, D. T. A 97 

Thwaites, R. G 339 

Trast, David 98 

Trelease, William 339 

Ulmer, J. B., A Glimpse of Albert Sidney Johnston through the Smoke 

of Shiloh 285-96 

Index. ix 

Vaca, Cabeza de, A Study of the Route of, by James Newton Baskett, 
246-79, 308-40; map of the route, 264, 320; discussion of the 
route proposed by other writers, 327-33; tabulation of time 
and distance of the itinerary, 333-35; discussion of the conflicts 
between Oviedo and de Vaca, 335-37; chronology of the jour- 
ney 338 

Vallejo, Father 131 

Vandera, Logan 217 

Vasquez, J. A 174 

Vial, Pedro .' 36 

Villa-Senor, Joseph Antonio de 20 

Walkerston, J. F. Q 98 

Walker, Edwin, agent of the government in sale of lots at Austin .... 227 

Ward, Thomas W., builder of Texas capitol at Houston 170 

Washington, Texas, Documents relating to the organization of the first 

municipality of, 96-100; seat of the convention of 1836. . . .150, 153 

Western Company, the, succeeds Crozat in Louisiana 11 

Westover, Ira 176 

Wharton, William H 215 

Whiteside, James 97 

Widen, L. E 339, 354 

Wilkinson, General James . 51, 57 

Wilkinson, J. G 97 

Williams, O. W 328-9 

Williams, S. M 80, 82, 84-86, 92 

Williamson, H. J 98 

Williamson, R. M 90, 91, 146 

Winkler, Ernest William, Documents relating to the Organization of 
the First Municipality of Washington, 96-100; The Seat of 

Government of Texas, 140-71, 185-245 

Winship, George P 321, 339 

Wood, J. H 98 

Wyche, John J 97 

X. Y. Z. affair 66-68 

Ybarbo, Antonio Gil 32 

Young, Charles J 98